Is There Credible Evidence Regarding a Likely “Friendly Fire” Incident on June 30, 2013?
The post title above (constrained by Wix.com title length restrictions) derives from our 2020 Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics (AHFE) conference original paper titled, Credible Evidence Continues to Surface Regarding a Likely “Friendly Fire” Incident Along the Sesame Street and Shrine Corridor Area on June 30, 2013.
To complement and strengthen our revised post title, we will address this question in Figure 2. (below): Did the lead ADOSH investigator discount or write off PFD Willis' May 5, 2014, email evidence of a 'backfire' claiming "there is a whole new story about what happened on June 30th"?
Author: Douglas Fir
Views expressed to "the public at large” and "of public concern"
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Figure 1. June 30, 2013, between approximately 1630 (4:30 PM) and 1710 (5:10 PM) timeframe revealing very aggressive fire behavior view of the Sesame to Shrine Corridor - photo taken right above Oak Park Motel Source: Joy A. Collura
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil.
Proverbs 3: 5-7 (NKJV)
As previously stated, in more detail, this post is based on the Eleventh Global Virtual Conference on Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics (AHFE) and the Affiliated Conferences, USA, July 16-20, 2020. Advances in Safety Management and Human Performance Arezes, Pedro, Boring, Ronald L. (Eds.); New Findings and Methods in Human Performance. Title: Credible Evidence Continues to Surface Regarding a Likely “Friendly Fire” Incident Along the Sesame Street and Shrine Corridor Area on June 30, 2013. Primary and Co-Authors are: Fred J. Schoeffler, Lance Honda, Joy A. Collura; pp. 353-361
The post title above differs slightly from the AHFE paper with our usual question mark added, posing it in a question format per legal counsel.
Due to 2020 AHFE restrictions, all of the accepted authors' papers were limited to nine (9) pages, including references. So, in this post, we will examine the photos and videos and emails that support the Sesame Street and Shrine Corridor likely firing operations and expand on those abbreviated or truncated issues that need further clarification and information. This includes a recently acquired germane email from PFD Willis to ADOSH investigator Krotenberg.
The Sesame Street to Shrine Corridor area likely firing operation is sustained by at least ten (10) suggestive proofs as follows: (1) three SAIT-SAIR excerpts; (2) photos and videos (some with metadata) that we posted on the YHFR site, based on separate and distinct smoke columns; (3) over twenty WFs, FFs, and citizens that saw a Corridor firing operation video in July 2013 at the Yarnell, AZ Library and on YouTube (which later vanished); (4) the following year (2014) "burnt fusees" and "accelerants" were located (by special local hounds) along the Corridor area during separate site visits; (5) several 2014 and 2019 Investigative MEDIA posts / Podcast (D. Pfingston) about a “back burn;” (6) the Institution of Fire Engineers. Intl. Org. for Fire Professionals video noted in Figure 6. and 6b. below; (7) an experienced WF and Academy instructor hearsay evidence regarding at least three separate Corridor firing operations as noted in our 2019 Washington, DC AHFE Conference presentation and 2019-2020 posts on Investigative MEDIA posts; (8) former Yarnell Fire Chief Pete Anderson (RiP) in an October 8, 2013 You Tube Investigative Media interview discussing the Corridor and firing operation: "like they did here;" (9) the June 30, 2013, Lewis Dept. of Corrections (DOC) Crew Boss Jake Guadiana, who was working on the YH Fire and stated: "we watched those [smoke] columns all through the day;" and (10) the recently discovered May 7, 2014, email thread from Prescott FD (PFD) Wildland Battalion Chief Willis to the Lead ADOSH Investigator Krotenberg regarding new evidence ("Yarnell Hill Discovery") about a possibly "conducting a backfire'' operation that would result in "a whole new story." (emphasis added)
Regarding the 2014 GMHS Memorial Anniversary, Co-Author Collura posted on the YHFR website on December 15, 2019: "That same day, before they arrived, there were two Honor Guard people that played the bagpipes, dressed in formal uniforms, that I overheard state the following:
"What happened on this [Shrine] road will die with us."
"The reason I never placed this information publicly on IM or elsewhere, until now, was due to sensitivity for the loved ones."
"However, a select few in person have always known about this." (emphasis added and in original)
So then, in my quasi-professional opinion, these two Honor Guard men were either there during that timeframe or they know who was there that day involved with the firing operation.
Consider now the question from above broaching the additional corroborating evidence of a firing operation. Check out this May 7, 2014, email thread between PFD Willis and ADOSH lead investigator Krotenberg admitting to having come 'across some evidence' about a Yarnell Hill Fire "backfire" operation that may have "added to the fire front and increased the intensity of the fire that ultimately over ran the Granite Mountain Hot Shot Crew" (GMHS). It is posted in this link ( https://www.yarnellhillfirerevelations.com/post/page-4-these-are-my-city-of-prescott-public-records-requests-descending-order )
It is located near the bottom of that post in the link above.
From: Willis,Darrell To: CC: Willis Darrell Date: 5/7/2014 12:55:20 PM
Subject: Yarnell Hill Discovery
Dear Marshall, I would like to inform you of some evidence we have come across that may have an impact on the AZDOSH report and citations relating to Yarnell Hill. We have come across some evidence that we believe is residue and slag from flares in the area of Yarnell along some roads in the area. This evidence, if verified by laboratory tests, would indicate that someone (crew, engine, individual(s) or independent resources may have added to the fire front and increased the intensity of the fire that ultimately over ran the Granite Mountain Hotshot crew, by conducting a backfire. I have found no evidence of this discussion in either the AZDOSH report or the Serious Accident Investigation Report. If this proves to be true, there is a whole new story about what happened on June 30th. I would be glad to discuss this with you at your convenience and provide you with the evidence and documentation for your review. I look forward to hearing from you. (emphasis added)
Darrell Willis, Division Chief
Figure 2. Email thread between PFD Willis and lead ADOSH investigator Krotenberg regarding new discovery of likely (fusee) firing device residue and slag in the Yarnell area along some roads. JPEG image. Source: PFD, Collura
We need to address the subtitle question: "Did the lead ADOSH investigator discount or write off PFD Willis' May 5, 2014, email evidence of a 'backfire' that would establish "a whole new story of what happened on June 30th"?
Of course, the lead ADOSH investigator discounted and basically wrote off Prescott FD Wildland Battalion Chief Willis' May 5, 2014, email evidence of a 'backfire' that would establish "a whole new story of what happened on June 30th." Willis was apparently revealing this new evidence in a timely manner to Krotenberg. However, where did this matter go from there? Did they tell anyone else, like the AZ Attorney General? Or any of the the SAIT members?
It goes further though. Why was none of this revealed when Collura filed a Public Records Request (PRR) for 'all City of Prescott GMHS and YH Fire and YH Fire-related records' in 2016? How and why is it that this email is finally released in a PRR over 327 weeks or 75 months or 6.25 years later? And what about Willis' "evidence and documentation for your review" that he mentions in his email? Were these provided to ADOSH Krotenberg by Willis? And if so, will this fact be revealed in future emails released from Public Records Requests?
Consider now the Serious Accident Investigation Team (SAIT) - Serious Accident Investigation Report (SAIR) references to a firing operation along a two-track road to be improved by a dozer for a proposed firing operation.
(1) "The Blue Ridge IHC [BRHS] parks their crew carriers next to the Granite Mountain IHC [GMHS] carriers. The Superintendent (BR Supt) and Captain (BR Capt) unload their utility task vehicle (UTV) and continue along Sesame Street. They encounter SPGS1 who requests a Heavy Equipment Boss (HEQB) to manage a dozer and clear out the two-track road on both sides as far as possible to provide access and to prepare for possible backfire. [BRHS] assigns one of their squad leaders, who is qualified as an HEQB, to help." (p. 18) (emphasis added)
(2) "As BR Supt and BR Capt continue to scout, HEQB takes the dozer as far as an old abandoned grader to push a clear area around it. He then heads in the direction of the saddle near [GMHS] anchor point. Following this, his plan is to turn around and clear out the two-track road (an old fuel break) between Sesame Street and Shrine Road. Meanwhile, the rest of the Blue Ridge IHC stays with the crew carriers where they have “good eyes on the fire.” (p. 18) (emphasis added)
(3) "As BR Supt is en route to pick up drivers to move the [GMHS] crew carriers, SPGS1 contacts him to ask if they still have the option to burn out from the dozer line. BR Supt tells him no. DIVS A, hearing the [radio] transmission, agrees and says he believes the fire is almost as far as the [GMHS] vehicles. A moment later, DIVS A says, 'I want to pass on that we’re going to make our way to our escape route.'” (p. 24) (emphasis added)
(4) "A task force with Structure Protection Group 1 is working in the area. They are cutting a piece of indirect line from the area near the youth camp on Shrine Road eastward to a boulder pile, expecting that they may need to burn off this line overnight. This piece of indirect line connects to the dozer line between Shrine Road and Sesame Street, which the [BRHS] have been prepping since about 1500." (p. 25) (emphasis added)
(5) "Between 1530 and 1545, winds pick up and gradually shift direction from the southwest to the west-northwest, and the fire becomes very active. There is some spotting, and heavy ash is falling onto fire personnel working in the youth camp area. By this time, the two-mile flanking fire
looks more like a head fire and is starting to move southeasterly." (p. 25) (emphasis added)
(6) "At the [GMHS] location near the anchor point, wind shifts began at approximately 1550. Before that, the fire was moving generally
northeast. Around 1550, the fire shifted to moving southeast and aggressively pushing toward Yarnell. The outflow boundary itself had not arrived yet. It did not hit the southern perimeter of the fire until 1630. When the outflow boundary hits, winds drastically increase and drive the fire south." (p. 25 - Inset) (emphasis added)
(7) "By 1622, the firefighters in the Shrine area recognize the fire has reached the second trigger point and they start moving out toward Highway 89. Blue Ridge has left and they try several times to contact SPGS1 about getting the rest of the firefighters out of the area. Some of the firefighters do not share their sense of urgency, so BR Supt and BR Capt drive back in to hurry them, urging them out of the Shrine area. As they follow the last firefighters out, the smoke column above brings darkness. Embers fall and ignite numerous spot fires, which quickly burn together. By 1630, the fire is bearing down on them. The last firefighters reach Highway 89 at 1640 and they call SPGS1 on TAC 1 to confirm they are out. They drive south a few minutes, to the Ranch House Restaurant to regroup and to determine if it is a safe area or if they need to continue further south." (p. 25-26 ) (emphasis added)
(8) "At approximately 1600, ASM2 overhears a comment on the radio referencing a crew and a safety zone. ASM2 calls OPS1 and clarifies, “I heard a crew in a safety zone, do we need to call a time out?” OPS1 replies, 'No, they’re in a good place. They’re safe and it’s Granite Mountain.'
They talk about flying over to check on the crew, but for now, they think the crew is safe in the black." (p. 27) (emphasis added)
(9) "'Following this conversation, ASM2 hears DIVS A announce on the radio, 'We’re going down our escape route to our safety zone.' ASM2 asks, 'Is everything okay?' to which DIVS A replies, 'Yes, we’re just moving.'” (p. 27) (emphasis added) Definitely an intentional verbal distortion is present here. They already traveled from danger to their Safety Zone.
Sesame Street and Shrine Corridor Firing Operation Evidence and Arizona Rule 803. Exceptions to the Rule Against Hearsay - Regardless Whether the Declarant Is Available. Article VIII
Consider now the existence of a Sesame Street and Shrine Corridor firing operation, using legal literature to establish standing, for legal credibility, while utilizing the Arizona Rule 80 to qualify statements for “particular probative value” (evidence useful to prove something in a trial). ‘A firsthand account is based on one’s personal experience; a secondhand account is based on an one’s research, rather than personal experience, generally considered to be circumstantial. Hearsay is a statement made in court by someone other than a party to prove the truth of matter.’
‘Evaluating factual matter, an expert is allowed to rely on anything normally relied upon by other experts in his field, anything that has gained “general acceptance” in arriving at opinions. The material upon which expert opinion is based need not be admissible; it may be hearsay.’ (Objections to Evidence and Testimony)
Therefore, accepting a veteran WF as an “expert witness,” granting them credibility is permissible. Tight groups, such as WFs, at times share unreliable beliefs. Consider whether the WF provider’s experience base is amply extensive to support what is presented as bona fide, albeit second- or third-hand, plus expert opinion. Deferring to the AZ Rule 803, discounting opinion(s) lacking ample basis ensuring reliable inferences fairly drawn from experience are presented to you.
"The following are not excluded by the rule against hearsay, regardless of whether the declarant is available as a witness:
(1) Present Sense Impression. A statement describing or explaining an event or condition, made while or immediately after the declarant perceived it.
(2) Excited Utterance. A statement relating to a startling event or condition, made while the declarant was under the stress of excitement that it caused.
(3) Then-Existing Mental, Emotional, or Physical Condition. A statement of the declarant's then-existing state of mind (such as motive, intent, or plan) or emotional, sensory, or physical condition (such as mental feeling, pain, or bodily health), but not including a statement of memory or belief to prove the fact remembered or believed unless it relates to the validity or terms of the declarant's will." (AZ Rule 803)
This component of the probable firing operation - planned and discussed - was likely fired off by a mixture of Federal, State, and local Municipal Fire personnel. It is a widely held belief among WFs/FFs, explicitly those involved in the Sesame Street and Shrine Corridor area likely firing operation, that the increased outflow winds and resultant fire behavior created was akin to an exponentially violent fire storm that overtook the GMHS as they hiked downhill into the lit fire surging uphill toward them, without a lookout and without notifying Air Attack of their intentions, their proposed route, and to keep a watchful eye on them as they hiked. See Fig. 1. in Schoeffler. Honda, Collura (2019).
Wildland Firing Operations Tactics and Strategy - Fighting Fire with Fire
Burning out and backfiring are dissimilar firing operations, that are often misunderstood and substituted. Burning Out is setting fire inside a control line to consume fuel between the fire edge and the control line in order to strengthen and straighten them by eliminating fuel between the fire edge and the control line; considered direct attack. (citation omitted) A Single Resource Boss (CRWB, ENGB, etc.) has authority to initiate burnouts with Division Supervisor or supervisory approval, usually as an on-going part of line construction. Backfiring is a fire set along the inner edge of a fireline to consume the fuel in the path of a fire or to change the fire’s direction, approved by the Incident Commander (IC) or the Operations Section Chief (OPS) and put into effect at the Division level. (citation omitted) Adhering to basic wildland firefighting rules and guidelines with informing adjoining forces as critical. There are some advocacy groups and like-minded individuals that justly question whether “extensive backburning” (slang for firing operations) is “a cause or consequence” of large wildfires posting greater WFs/FFs risks than usually sensed. “It is easy to understand … why suppression firing may be the dominant form of fire use today.” (NWCG - 2014)
Indeed, the IMT burnout was planned for and pressed by the IMT and other concurring overhead, including those engaged in "Independent Actions," in order to complete the task. We contend that there were several separate firing operations by Agency, as well as, Hybrid Municipal FDs and others. And this is a main focal point of the SAIT and other "interested entities" to keep this hidden from WFs, FFs, the GMHS family, friends, and loved ones, and of course, the public, (i.e., "we will never know")
This WF obviously nails it with his trenchant comment in the "Student of Fire" blog post titled: "On the Road to Yarnell." "Matt posted on January 27, 2017 at 7:55 pm - It is unquestionably a tragedy that 19 men in the prime of their lives were cut down by fire. It is completely understandable that the survivors of those men do everything they can to honor their memories. It is unforgivable that we allow sentiment and tradition prevent us from learning anything from the human factors surrounding Yarnell because we continue to be blinkered and sentimental in our eagerness to 'not speak ill' of the dead. It is nothing short of astonishing that the official conclusion was that everybody involved in the Yarnell Hill Fire did everything right – despite the incineration of the 19 hotshots by flames so hellish that granite boulders fractured. Covering up facts because they make us uncomfortable dishonors the dead, and ensures the same mistakes will be made in the future." (emphasis added)
Wildland Firing Operations and Friendly Fire
The notion of Friendly Fire (aka fratricide or amicicide) is atypical, so it is presented here from a unique wildland fire perspective. Consider now a short account of the phrase based in historic military passages and quotes to propose as an analog for wildland fire incidents. According to retired Army Colonel turned academic, Scott Snook extensively researched a friendly fire incident in Iraq when two U.S. Air Force fighters by mistake shot down two Army Blackhawk helicopter. “Friendly fire-casualties unintentionally inflicted on one’s own forces-is not a new problem in the history of warfare. However, until quite recently, little explicit attention has been paid to studying its causes and possible solutions” (footnote omitted) (emphasis added) with certain cases frequently revealing that the fratricide was the final link in a chain of mistakes. Another military researcher and author, retired Army Lt. Colonel Charles Shrader, in his book titled: Amicicide: The Problem of Friendly Fire in Modern War (1982) refers to it as “amicicide.” He wrote “… in the ‘fog of war’ friendly fire casualties are inevitable … ‘fog of war’ is ... oft-mentioned, [and] imperfectly understood, … With few sources, researchers are left with scattered, cryptic, notes found in general operational histories or official combat records."
The authors can duly relate to the notion of few sources. However, there are numerous private citizens as well as WFs and FFs that were living in and around Yarnell and / or working on the June 30, 2013, YH Fire. We are patiently and prayerfully waiting for these courageous individuals to come forward and share what they have for the WFs and FFs that would benefit from them as well as the public at large.
Escape Routes are the paths WFs/FFs take from unsafe present locations to safer ones; it is the most elusive safety prong of LCES due to its ever-changing status, as evidenced by the actions of the GMHS on June 30, 2013, when they performed their distorted and subsequently fatal "escape route." A recent "review of US wildland firefighter entrapments" noted by Dr. Butler et al,
Dr, Butler et al are right on point and equally perceptive. It is as if he is describing what actually occurred on the June 30, 2013, YH Fire with this conclusion: "Typically, only during the infrequent alignment of fire environment conditions that promote high rates of spread (i.e. extreme fire behaviour) and large fire growth ... do firefighters lack the time required to adapt or escape, potentially owing to a combination of the unexpected nature of the increase in fire behaviour ... and the inability to quickly utilise escape routes."
(emphasis added) pp. 551-552. (Citations omitted)
Butler et al also found that, among other things, key portions of entrapment potential lies in human factors and there is a likely sizable under-reporting of entrapments. So then, we can certainly add the YH Fire and GMHS debacle to this list for future research. In addition, in the meantime, we had to ask in our AHFE paper - "Why did the GMHS correctly and skillfully pursue a true Escape Route to get to a viable Safety Zone "in the black," then pervert that term, leave their worthwhile Safety Zone - and then fatally hike downhill in chimneys and chutes of unburned chaparral into a deadly bowl?
Notwithstanding the WF common knowledge of the "fact" that "bowls" are potential death traps, yet notably unstated and unspecified in the following NWCG document, it went against all that we (and they) are trained to avoid as emphasized in the NWCG instruction publication! "Keep away from narrow draws, chutes, and chimneys. They tend to funnel smoke, flames, and hot gases that can damage your shelter." (p. 6 - emphasis added)
Astonishingly, during the July 2013 GMHS Deployment Site News Conference video, PFD Wildland Fire battalion Chief Willis actually states that they"protected themselves as a last resort … they picked the best location in this bowl." Is this also included in "The Prescott Way?"
From an Idaho news article ("20 Years After the South Canyon Fire"), it appears the GMHS learned "incomplete" lessons: "The Granite Mountain Hotshots of Prescott, Ariz., made the pilgrimage [to the 1994 South Canyon Fire Fatality Site] two years ago to pay their respects, recalled Darrell Willis, wildland division chief for the Prescott Fire Department." (emphasis added)
“We hiked Storm King Mountain with this [Granite Mountain Hotshots] crew, and we all said, ‘This will never happen to us.’” (emphasis added) (Stranton - MVN)
An experienced wildland fire supervisor and manager and veteran of over 45 years fire service experience, turned Academic and Consultant, authored a seminal study on managing major Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) incidents tiled: “Command Decisions during Catastrophic Interface Wildfire.” His thesis advisor at the time for the Masters Degree program in Emergency Services Administration at Cal State Univ. Long Beach was Dr. Richard Resureccion.
According to their August 2019 academic newsletter, Professor Richard L. Resurreccion, is widely known for his expertise in the areas of life safety, technology and emergency management. He has been particularly involved in training and development programs for fire, police and emergency medical services personnel. He has 50 years of experience in varied teaching at the secondary, junior and two-year college, military and university levels. He was involved in helping design future programs based on the belief that one need not be a supervisor or manager to understand leadership principles and contribute to the leadership process.
Dr. Richard Resureccion's Master Program student wanted to write his thesis on the numerous (mis)management issues surrounding the controversial escaped, May 2000 Los Alamos (Cerro Grande) Prescribed (RX) Burn turned wildfire. He was having difficulty getting access to the NPS employees that worked on the project, due to their tight-lipped management that was fearing impending litigation. So then, Dr. Resureccion counseled him accordingly:
"You can't write about a high consequence event like this one for ten years due to conflicting political and emotional positions and a guarding of the truth for various reasons or agendas." He further stated that “you have to wait until some folks with vested interests retire, move on, or pass sometimes before an opportunity exists to find the facts.”
Cerro Grande was only several years old at the time.
Rare wildland “friendly fire” incidents are most often fatal as documented and recounted by many experienced WFs and human factors researchers that firmly believe that the Mann Gulch (MT-1949), Loop (CA-1966), Battlement Creek (CO-1976), Mackenzie (AZ-1994), Cedar (CA- 2003), and Yarnell Hill Fires (AZ-2013) were the result of likely “friendly fire.” These are discussed in some detail on InvestigativeMEDIA (IM) and incompletely recorded (read “official” records) in the Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center Incident Reviews. Likewise, the WF brother of a deceased GMHS that was unsuccessful getting a GMHS position, acknowledged and agreed that his brother had died “from fratricide” on June 30, 2013. He conceded that to cope with losing his brother, he accepted they were adults with many options that day. Contrary to the infamously unreliable SAIT-SAIR, the IRPG-recognized "hazardous attitude" of the Groupthink and the GMHS poor choices they made caught up with them, resulting in the fatal outcomes, far afield of the "just an accident" category. (emphasis added)
The mostly unreliable YH Fire SAIT members utilized many individuals to assist them in their alleged "Factual" investigation, including a Support Team and so-called Subject Matter Experts (SMEs ), in their examination and alleged "investigation" of the YH Fire and GMHS debacle. We think it's safe to say that most of them were Party Liners, dedicated "Team Players" willing to eagerly "Go Along to Get Along" and willingly drink the Kool-Aid. And that is why we made the "incompletely recorded (read “official” records) in the Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center Incident Reviews" comment above.
Note in Figure 3a. (below - right) from out 2019 AHFE PowerPoint presentation, that one of the SME's stated to me in August 2013:
"We have so much evidence that we cannot and will not ever release to the public."
I would hazard a guess that a lot of that evidence would have been regarding the Sesame Street and Shrine Corridor area firing operation.
Figure 3. SAIT member list (left) and Support Team list (right). Source: SAIT-SAIR
Figure 3a. SAIT Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) list (left) and PowerPoint slide (right) regarding SME statement about YHF and GMHS evidence and "we will never know" statements in the SAIT-SAIR. Source: SAIT-SAIR, 2019 AHFE PowerPoint
Consider now evidence relevant to the firing operation examination. What follows are two "YH Fire Lab Test - Sinclair et al email threads" (Figure 3c.) regarding some awaited laboratory test results for some substance, (i.e. "white stuff") that these individuals 'discovered' in the Corridor area that they wondered if it was "slag" or residue of some sort. From a wildland firefighter's perspective, this was most definitely "slag" from common wildland firefighting fusees often used in firing operations. They are basically customized road flares that are longer and therefore burn for a longer period of time.
Figure 3b. (left) CDF video on firing mechanisms. Source: CDF, YouTube
Kinda nerdy video but helpful if you want to learn about the basic fire operation tools.
Figure 3c (above). Email thread between Alan Sinclair and others regarding Yarnell Hill Fire Lab Test. JPEG image. Source: PFD, Collura
Please consider the following 2014 and 2015 Investigative MEDIA (IM) posts by D. Pfingston (DP) that clearly reveal her deep concern about the truth of what really happened that day, including even more-so, any information regarding a firing operation, which she and many others erroneously refers to as a "backburn."
DP posted this on IM on April 9, 2014: "The truth of what happened that day will come out. We will learn lessons from this only when the truth is complete. ..." (emphasis added) ( https://www.investigativemedia.com/yarnell-hill-fire-chapter-vi-comments/#comment-22177 )
On IM on April 9, 2014 at 2:23 PM [DP] asks: "Has anyone thought about a back burn? The human factors aspect / the oppression GMIHS lived under from the city? Who could have had the power to make them go off the hill? Did the left hand know what the right hand was doing? Who was the Forest Service man who was at the restaurant talking on the phone saying “we really f- – – ed up.”? Any answers." (emphasis added)
The discussion of a "backburn" and unidentified USFS man talking on the phone admitting "we really f**d up" comments and excerpts are especially intriguing. Could this be the renowned "Mystery Man"?
There was also an April 10, 2014, Investigative MEDIA post from her seeking information about any local structural FFs, very likely regarding the firing operation. "Would anyone be able to guide me to any interviews with Yarnell Fire volunteer firefighters that were in Yarnell – or – any structure firefighters that were in Yarnell on June 30th? Thank you."
Consider now this email (January 2015 - re: any ideas) excerpt, from GMHS family member D. Pfingston, to a group 0f current and retired WFs and FFs researching the YH Fire. She is quite confident that a "back burn" occurred referring to it as a "fact." I placed all these excerpts here because she is included in the laboratory email below. It is a good segue into the YH Fire and GMHS firing operation discussion because fusees are a common tool used to burn out with. Persistently, wildland firing operations are often erroneously referred to as "back burns" by the inexperienced and uninformed.
“I stand firm that there was a back burn that came up that canyon. It was this fact along with the weather change that the IC never sent out because they were busy evacuating that caused the death of Granite Mountain. Yes there were all the facts that your group has so brilliantly shown but please lets not lose sight that we are still fighting for the complete truth.” (all emphasis added)
Figure 3d. Email thread between Alan Sinclair, PFD Willis, PFD Harwood, H. Neill, D. Pfingston regarding "any ideas" and Yarnell Hill Fire Lab Test. JPEG image. Source: PFD, Collura
Once again, the above email excerpt in Figure 3c.-3d. (above) is regarding some alleged unknown substance, (i.e. "white stuff") that these individuals discovered in the Corridor area. From a WF perspective it will turn out to be "slag" or residue from common wildland firefighting fusees used in firing operations.
What follows in Figure 4. (below) is an email excerpt from D. Thompson to PFD Willis regarding further inquiry into FBAN Bruce Olson because he is "totally under the radar and yet was on the YHF the entire time. ... he may have some had some input into operations and strategy and tactics." And also requesting further inquiry into "the Glendale FD guys who were working for Cordes in Yarnell and Glen Ilah. ... who have never been interviewed." (emphasis added) It appears that she is inquiring about his involvement in - and knowledge of - the firing operations.
Figure 4. Email thread snippet between PFD Willis and D. Thompson regarding BLM FBAN Bruce Olson and his knowledge of YH Fire tactics and strategy. And Glendale FD resources on Engine 156 (Nine plus personnel never interviewed) working for SPGS Cordes in Glen Ilah and Yarnell areas. JPEG image. Source: PFD, Collura
She persists. What follows in Figure 4a. (below) is an email excerpt (1/27/2015 RE: Mystery Engine) from D. Thompson to PFD Willis regarding further inquiry into a "Mystery Engine" (E-156) and what they were "doing in at the Helms (BSR) area for two hours? What did they hear" What did they see" ... This Engine was also with them in [the] Shrine with everyone else. ..." (emphasis added) Once again, it appears that she is persistently inquiring about their involvement in - and knowledge of - the Shrine firing operations. Because it appears that she knows there was one.
Figure 4a. Email (January 27, 2015 - Mystery Engine) thread snippet between PFD Willis and D. Thompson regarding nagging questions what Glendale FD Engine 156 resources and TFLD (T) Esquibel were doing while working in the Helms and Shrine areas. JPEG image. Source: PFD, Collura
From this this point, in more-or-less chronological order, we delve into the visual, photographic and video evidence we have garnered regarding the Sesame Street and Shrine Firing operations. We have added a considerable amount of additional photos and video clips to augment what this post is based on - our original 2020 AHFE paper titled: Credible Evidence Continues to Surface Regarding a Likely “Friendly Fire” Incident Along the Sesame Street and Shrine Corridor Area on June 30, 2013 ( https://rdcu.be/b5BXG ).
Consider this short YouTube video titled: “Yarnell Hill Fire - 2013” (4-30-19 - WTKTT) on June 30, 2013, which reveals - from a wildland firefighting perspective - three GMHS likely scouting and / or performing a minor firing operation near their “lunch spot” on the Weavers. The photo was taken from down below, near the Boulder Springs Ranch (BSR), near Deertrack Drive at 1036 (10:36 AM), and these GMHS appear to be 'getting the fire squared up with the two-track road.' There are clearly three GMHS, (left - Steed in red hardhat) scouting and /or working together as a small firing group to likely begin an ‘indirect’ burnout Sunday, June 30, 2013. The GMHS on the right is pointing with his arm outstretched or even possibly using a flare gun, often used in firing operations.
This is followed by several local residents' and BRHS' late morning photos of increasing fire behavior in the form of smoke columns (plumes).
Figure 5. Yarnell Hill Fire - June 30, 2013, approx. 1036 (10:36 AM) cross-fade video revealing a small GMHS firing operation contingent Source: YouTube, WTKTT, Anonymous Source by Request
Figure 6. June 30, 2013, IMG_0120 -1040:46 (10:40:46 PM) to IMG_0123.JPEG 1040:56 (10:40:56 AM) photo series of four (4) taken from the same location, literally seconds apart revealing rapidly increasing fire behavior based on color, density, and volume of smoke columns (plumes) Source: Anonymous By Request Local Yarnell Residents
Figure 6a.(left) BRHS Papich IMG_3948 June 30, 2013, 10:40:20 (10:40:20 AM) (iPhone 4S) revealing smoke columns in Peeples Valley's part of the North side of the Harper canyon and as well as one of the few Sesame Street to and Shrine Corridor spur roads out by Harper Canyon and the Old Grader area. The (right) June 30, 2013, 10:41:14 (10:41:14 AM) (Nikon D80 image DSC_0019) taken from Yarnell near the BSR revealing smoke columns in the Peeples Valley area. NOTE: the (right Snippet image location from a presentation was incorrectly labeled) Source: BRHS, Collura records
Figure 7. June 30, 2013, 1107 (11:07 AM) photo taken from neat the BSR revealing a single smoke column (plume) developing in the Peeples Valley area. Source: Anonymous by Request Yarnell resident
Figure 7a. June 30, 2013, 1107 (11:00 AM) to 1130 (11:30 PM) timeframe photo taken from the Yarnell Fire Dept.looking past Harper Canyon, revealing a single smoke column (plume) that is developing in the Peeples Valley area. Source: Anonymous by Request Yarnell resident
Consider now (Figure 8. and Figure 8d.) the AZ State Forestry (ASF) videos, one of at least three separate firing operations on June 30, 2013, 1534 (3:34 PM) inductively based on the upper left video file name (0630131534). The labeling is typical of other similarly saved YH Fire photo and video records.
The first video (Figure 8.) depicts a USFS Type 3 Engine and two WFs with torches, steadily firing along one of the spur roads in the Peeples Valley area on the fringes of the Sesame Street and Shrine Corridor area. This verifies that Engine Crews decided to perform fairly assertive burnouts despite the intense conditions. This particular USFS wildland fire Engine correctly follows behind the lighters, compared to the naive Municipal FFs firing operation with the Engine in front of the lighters, as noted in one WF's statements. This placement indicates a lack of wildland firefighting experience in general, and a lack of firing operations experience in particular.
The relevant Figure 8. (below) USFS Type 3 Engine video segment of an active firing operation is from 00:00 to 01:25.
The Figure 8d. video begins with the same USFS Type 3 Engine Crew firing segment, during the longer Engine Staging Area portion (i.e. "new videos released ..." - the scene visible on the video screen image), clearly reveal separate and distinct smoke columns (plumes) indicative of a firing operation. These are during the 1:30 to 4:17 timeline with some notable, aggressive backdrop fire behavior, including some clear, relevant radio transmissions throughout the video concerning aggressive fire behavior, tactics and strategy based on the fire potential they are witnessing.
Figure 8. June 30, 2013, 1534 (3:34 PM) based on upper left video file name (0630131534) - Yarnell Hill Fire. (0630131534) Firefighter Safety. Video clip of USFS Type 3 Engine firing operation along spur road area. Source: Institution of Fire Engineers. Intl. Org. for Fire Professionals.
This USFS Engine Boss revealed that this was his "first Engine Boss assignment and [he] was very nervous because of the fire behavior and chaos ..." He also said that there were "other USFS Engines that took off on the road lighting to the South." He said he was "told by a SGS [Structure Group Specialist] to fire on their way heading South away from the structures to try and stop it and square the fire off." He admitted that he "knew that they added much more steam to the already large flame front."
This is an InvestigativeMEDIA (IM) comment (July 28, 2020) with some additional, corroborative information on this USFS Type 3 Engine firing operation. "I spoke to one of the type 3 engine crews that abandoned structure protection by the order of their division supervisor and burned miles of spur roads before they came out and went into town. That division supervisor or SGS ... told them to bail and light on their way out " (emphasis added)
What follows in Figures 8a. and 8b. (below) are three photos from the same photographer from the same location, revealing very aggressive fire behavior, between 3:36 PM and 3:44 PM.
All three photos include the GMHS Crew Carriers.
Figure 8a. June 30, 2013, 1536 (3:36 PM) photo revealing very aggressive running fire with overlayed comments -"Fire advances back into basin - Route hiked in is compromised - Hotshot vehicles need to be pulled out" - GMHS Crew Carriers are visible in the small clearing in the bottom left corner. Source: K. Florman, Outdoorsman.com
Figure 8b. June 30, 2013, 1544 (3::44 PM) photo progression of fire behavior in Figure 8a.revealing very aggressive running fire with GMHS Crew Carriers visible in both photos in the small clearing in the bottom left corner. The left photo is from Florman and the right photo is also from Florman, located, It was within the GMHS Parker (RiP) folder as one of the SAIT proposed exhibits labelled "Figure ?" Neither one of these photos was ever mentioned or included in the SAIT-SAIR. Source: AZ State Forestry, SAIT, Collura records
Figure 8c. June 30, 2013, late morning - GMHS Crew Carriers visible in the small clearing in the center of the photo Source: Collura
Figure 8d. June 30, 2013 - Yarnell Hill Fire, Arizona. Firefighter Safety.Video clips of firing operation. Source: Institution of Fire Engineers. Intl. Org. for Fire Professionals.
The authors maintain that these respective videos in Figure 8. and Figure 8d. (above) are essential to revealing and undergirding the likelihood of the Sesame Street and Shrine Corridor firing operations. Once again, the authors believe there is evidence of at least three firing operations.
Please consider this Drop Box for additional ADOSH Supporting Photos and Maps - ASFD.pdf (ADOSH)
( https://www.wildfirelessons.net/HigherLogic/System/DownloadDocumentFile.ashx?DocumentFileKey=2bf4c658-af5d-43fe-aa87-7d8ad0bcdb56&forceDialog=0 )
Consider now this Google Earth image (Figure 9.) as a reference map of the Sesame Street and Shrine Corridor for the photographic and video evidence that follows. Likewise, Figures 9a. and 9b. (below) will also assist in your understanding and overall and particular perspectives of what follows in the next thirty plus (30 +) photos and videos.
Figure 9. Google Earth image, looking Northwest (using "Snipping tool") indicating up-slope alignment of the Sesame Street To Shrine Fuel / Fire Break Corridor (upper center black horizontal arrows) to the parallel chimneys / chutes / washes mid-image (twin vertical curved black lines) leading up to the GMHS Deployment Zone. Boulder Springs Ranch (BSR) / Helms in the center right. Source: Yavapai County Records Request 7-9-14\Audio video recordings\Video Files; FA42 IMG_1584.MOV July 4, 2013, 2:34pm, Paint
Consider now (below) the Google Earth image in (Figure 9a. from right to left) pathway and respective yellow place markers indicating the Shrine to Sesame Street - Uphill Aligned Twin, Parallel Chutes - GMHS Deployment Zone (DZ) Alignment. In Figure 9b. created from the Google Earth pathway, consider the Vertical Profile image (Snippet) - The vertical profile is a clear, unequivocal visual depiction of an EXTREMELY DEADLY VIRTUAL UPSLOPE, TOPOGRAPHIC SLINGSHOT DIRECTLY INTO THE GMHS DEPLOYMENT ZONE.
Figure 9a. Google Earth Snippet of Sesame Street - Shrine - Uphill Aligned Twin, Parallel Chutes - GMHS Deployment Zone Alignment. The Boulder Springs Ranch (BSR), not labeled is the opening just below the DZ - Fatality Site label. Source: Google Earth
Figure 9b. Google Earth Vertical Profile Snippet of Sesame Street - Shrine - Uphill Aligned Twin, Parallel Chutes - GMHS Deployment Zone (DZ) Alignment. The DZ is in the upper left corner Source: Google Earth
Consider now the following photos (Figures 10. to 10c. and Figures 12. and 12a.) from a former Yarnell FD Firefighter (FF) that took these photographs on June 30, 2013. Here is a transcribed email (August 19, 2013) excerpt from him to ADOSH investigator Krotenberg: "I’ve got more but these photos appear to be the most interesting. The first were taken at the top of W Happy Way, at S Crest Way, with two smaller plumes starting to develop NWW from town. The last photo (16:04) was taken from the N end of N Crest Way, from above the Presbyterian church and shows the larger plume N-NW of town. It also appears that the other plumes are growing in that photo." (emphasis added)
"I was wondering if the southerly plumes were the ones that expanded to take out the firefighters and attack Glen Ilah."
YFD FF Chuck Kristensen's comment is most instructive and insightful being that it comes from a local experienced FF that witnessed and photographed the fire behavior and smoke columns and came to this accurate conclusion.
"I was wondering if the southerly plumes were the ones that expanded to take out the firefighters and attack Glen Ilah."
Figure 10. August 19, 2013, 4:11 PM email from Charles Kristensen to ADOSH Krotenberg RE; Yarnell Hill Fire Photos revealing four time-registered separate JPEG photos of separate and distinct smoke columns (plumes) Source: Kristensen, ADOSH, Collura records
Figure 10a. View of smoke columns (plumes) on June 30, 2013, at 15:51:39 (3:51:39 PM) from Crest Way and Happy Way looking Westerly. Note the obviously separate and distinct smoke column left of the telephone pole which clearly suggests a firing operation is taking place. Source: Chuck Kristensen
Figure 10b. View of smoke columns (plumes) on June 30, 2013 15:51:58 (3:51:58 PM) at Crest Way and Happy Way looking westerly. Note the obviously separate and distinct smoke columns both left and right of the telephone pole which clearly suggests a progression of the firing operation taking place when compared with Figure 10a. above. Source: Chuck Kristensen
Figure 10c. View of smoke columns (plumes) on June 30, 2013, at 15:52:45 (3:52:45 PM). This is the triangle that connects Fountain Hills to Lakewood Drive looking toward the Sesame Street to The Shrine areas. These smoke columns (plumes) of somewhat faint separate and distinct smoke columns continue to suggest that a firing operation is taking place. Source: Chuck Kristensen
Figure 11. Short YH Fire video clip on June 30, 2013 at 1555 (3:55 PM) taken from the towers on Antelope Peak in Yarnell, AZ. Very active fire behavior in the Sesame/ Street and Shrine areas. Source: Anonymous-by-request persons
Figure 12. View of smoke columns (plumes) on June 30, 2013, at 16:04:36 (4:04:36 PM) from Crestway and Tabletop Way looking between The Shrine (not visible), all fire behavior behind Harper Canyon, and the U-Stow-It (right). Source: Chuck Kristensen
Figure 12a. Google Earth Street View image from Crest Way, noting specific June 30, 2013, YH Fire WF / FF activity areas of interest (i.e. BRHS vehicles, GMHS Mackenzie photo spot, Deployment Site, etc.) minus actual fire scenes in the above photos. Source: WantsToKnowTheTruth (WTKTT)
Figure 12a. reveals the same Kristensen photo areas as Figures 10a, 10b., 10c., and 12. (above) except this Street View Google Earth image above has more 'annotations' and shows more specific YH Fire-related locations of personnel and equipment. Note that according to the red sightline, the 'fireline' had not yet crossed the 'Old Grader' location out in the 'bowl' area. This clearly complements other photographic evidence already in the Public Record for this 1551 (3:51 PM) timeframe. (paraphrasing WTKTT) Also notice that whatever fire behavior was happening 'out there' at 1551 (3:51 PM), the GMHS had a clear, unobstructed view of it from that 'Last Rest Spot' and the place where GMHS Christopher Mackenzie and the other GM Hotshots (RiP) were all taking their own photos (looking back East in this same 1551 (3:51 PM) timeframe. (paraphrasing WTKTT)
The following ADOSH comment, with one caveat, is timely at this point in that it provides a good segue to the sequential, separate and distinct smoke column (plume) photos:
“Fire behavior was extreme and it occurred early in the day ... There was a line of fire a mile and a half long ... There were 40 to 50 foot flame-lengths at 1030 in the morning ... It was moving early that morning. This is unusual for Arizona.”
ADOSH interview with SPGS2 (emphasis added) (Wildland Fire Associates p. 11)
On the contrary, this type of fire behavior is actually quite common in Arizona due to high nighttime temperatures based on a 1962 research paper by former Tonto NF, Payson District Ranger Robert Bates titled: "A Key to Blow-up Conditions in the Southwest?" posted elsewhere on this blog several times. The premise is that the most critical to explosive fire behavior potential is the day following the highest nighttime temperature.
Consider now the individual link for the IMG_1898.jpg photo and then others to follow. This is a Drop Box link for the following photos from FF Jerry Thompson with the Sun City West FD photos and videos and texts shown in Figure 11 to Figure 15 (below). ( https://www.dropbox.com/sh/02ue6bnjp6nazkm/AACjXUZXUTol5xdSHlORGsTqa/Photos%20and%20Video/Jerry%20Thompson%20Photos%20Videos?dl=0&subfolder_nav_tracking=1 ) Drop Box link also referenced below **
The four individual video clip transcribed narratives from this Dropbox are listed immediately below as well as under each respective Figures 13. and 14. and Figures 17. and 18. (below).
Video IMG_1101.3gp (18 seconds) June 30, 2013 at 3:24 PM video footage of a SCW FD FF sitting on a boulder watching the fire behavior and smoke column with other background FF radio traffic overheard. Lots of wind in the microphone of the videographer.
Video IMG_1134.3gp (1:04 seconds) 4:27 PM video of very active lateral fire behavior in chaparral fuels. Narration with another FF talking in the background: "Look at those flame lengths Matt ... on the ridge; those are 200 foot flame lengths easy, those middle flames are 200 foot, 300 foot flame lengths in this stuff, Over here we got smoke that looks like it's trying to push itself down, heavy column above us, pretty good activity in here. So, we had thunder[storms] in here earlier. We were talking about plume dominated fire ... It really doesn't seem to be pushing off, it seems to be pushing right at us all of a sudden, ... all the signs and symptoms of ah, ... multiply that times ten and it's time to get out of here. ... holy Jesus."
Video IMG_1135.3gp (19 seconds) silent video footage of active lateral and downslope fire behavior left to right
Video IMG_1136.3gp (10 seconds) video of active fire behavior with OPS Todd Abel radio transmissions overheard regarding moving tactical resources to "Cordes, ... down in Yarnell, he's getting pushed hard right now." FFs in the video saying "we're getting lot of ash" and another FF saying "It's coming right at us, we gotta hike to the [trucks]."
The following three .txt messages are included in the Dropbox of the Sun City West FD for the videos/photos indicating documentation including times.
Note "who" they gave their photos and videos to as well.
And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. Therefore He says: Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light. Ephesians 5:11-14 (NKJV)
Consider the following (README.txt at 4:24PM) text message regarding the SCW FD FF videos and photos given to the SAIT Co-Team Leader Mike Dudley. "Jerry Thompson, who was on a brush rig during the fire, gave these June 30, 2013, photos to Mike Dudley, a member of the Accident Investigation Team. Jerry included text files with time stamps for each file. He also included this text file: 4:24pm Mike, this is Jerry Thompson from Sun City FD, I have time stamps to photo's and video." (emphasis added)
"4:30 pm I took this last pic right before hiking to our truck and out to our safety zone, we are approx 3/4 mile south of Blue Ridge Hotshots at this point, they where working NW of the [S]hrine, and believe GM is 3/4 of a mile southwest of us." (emphasis added) (README.txt) text message regarding the Sun City West FD photo (IMG_5682.txt ) See Thompson Dropbox link above **
Figure 13. Jerry Thompson photo IMG_9446.jpg at 3:57 PM looking north-northwest; confirmed, indicating separate and distinct smoke columns, suggesting a firing operation Source: Jerry Thompson Photos Videos (Sun City West FD).
Figure 14. YH Fire IMG_8567. June 30, 2013, 1608 (4:08 PM) indicating aggressive fire behavior in the Harper Canyon area. Source: Jerry Thompson Photos Videos (Sun City West FD)
Consider now in Figures 15. through 15c. (below) these three separate June 30, 2013, circa 4:05 PM to 4:10 PM photos in the area of Fountain Hills and Lakewood clearly revealing a firing operation grounded on these separate and distinct, increasing smoke columns (plumes) based on smoke color and volume.
The Figure 16. GMHS June 30, 2013, 1551 (3:51 PM) to 1555 (3:55 PM) photo series and Figures 17. and 18. Sun City West FD 1613 (4:13 PM) and 1624 (4:24 PM) photos, a likely representative aggressive fire behavior photo in Figure 19., and the final Sun City West FD fire behavior photo in Figure 21. far below the PVFD articles follow.
Figure 15. June 30, 2013, circa 1605 (4:05 PM) to 1610 (4:10 PM) timeframe - photo 1 of 3 at the intersection of Fountain Hills and Lakewood revealing some separate and distinct smoke columns (plumes) based on color and volume Source: Local Yarnell resident, Collura Records
Figure 15a. June 30, 2013, circa 1605 (4:05 PM) to 1610 (4:10 PM) timeframe - photo 2 of 3 at the intersection of Fountain Hills and Lakewood revealing at least two increasing, separate and distinct smoke columns (plumes) based on color and volume Source: Local Yarnell resident, Collura Records
Figure 15b. June 30, 2013, circa 1605 (4:05 PM) to 1610 (4:10 PM) timeframe - photo 3 of 3 at the intersection of Fountain Hills and Lakewood revealing increased smoke columns (plumes) based on color, intensity, and volume. BRHS Ball in blue hardhat Source: Local Yarnell resident, Collura Records
Figure 16. GMHS Mackenzie (RiP) June 30, 2013, 1551 (3:51 PM) to 1555 (3:55 PM) photos series facing North to Northwest. NOTE: obviously increasing fire behavior based on flames lengths and spread distances. And smoke columns (plumes) based on color, density, and volume Source: YCSO Drop Box
Figure 16a. PDF JPEG images of two GMHS Christopher MacKenzie photographs approximately two minutes apart. The left photo (IMG_2736.JPG) was taken with an Apple iPhone4S Smartphone at 1551:58 (3:51:58 PM). The right photo (IMG_0889.JPEG) was photographed with a Canon PowerShot SD 1400 IS Digital camera at 1533:56 (3:15:56 PM) Southwest winds are increasing the fire behavior and pushing the fire in a Northeasterly direction. The small opening with the dark dot in the middle (lower third-middle of photo) is the "Old Grader" site where their alleged "lookout" was positioned until retrieved by the BRHS. Source: GMHS Christopher MacKenzie (RiP), dCourier; KPHO
These photographs in Figures 16. and 16a. (above) represent documented evidence of the GMHS - ready to move - wearing their full PPE and fire gear. They are ready to go to work, ready to do something, (i.e. IRPG Impulsive Hazardous Attitude - "Do something even if it's wrong") They are waiting for their supervisors to conclude their YouTube "discussing our options" discreet radio channel conversation (GMHS last video by Christopher MacKenzie). This radio conversation was whether they were going to stay in place in their Safety Zone or whether they were going to leave and head elsewhere - into the unburned fuels - with obviously increased fire behavior from the adverse forecast outflow winds, as seen in the many photos and videos.
Figure 17. YH Fire IMG_8573. June 30, 2013, 1613 (4:13 PM) indicating aggressive fire behavior in the base of Harper Canyon area toward the Shrine area. Source: Jerry Thompson Photos Videos (Sun City West FD)
Figure 18. YH Fire IMG_1898. June 30, 2013, 1624 (4:24 PM) looking north-northwest; confirmed, indicating separate and distinct smoke columns, suggesting a firing operation Source: Jerry Thompson Photos Videos (Sun City West FD).
This photo is particularly enlightening. In Figure 18. the right smoke plume is Harper Canyon; in the middle is a gap with unburned fuel, which is the Youth Camp. It shows two separate and distinct smoke columns (plumes) which leads to a second smoke column in the Sesame Street to Shrine Corridor area (left column). From a WF perspective, these are clearly separate and distinct smoke columns and noticeably suggest a firing operation taking place.
This is the transcribed SCW FD Drop Box README.txt at 4:24 PM, text message regarding Jerry Thompson's SCW FD videos and photos given to the SAIT Co-Team Leader Mike Dudley. "Jerry Thompson, who was on a brush rig during the fire, gave these June 30, 2013 photos to Mike Dudley, a member of the Accident Investigation Team. Jerry included text files with time stamps for each file. He also included this text file: 4:24pm Mike, this is Jerry Thompson from Sun City FD, I have time stamps to photo's and video." (emphasis added) See Dropbox link above **
Figure 18a. Explanatory detail-enhanced photo IMG_1898 indicating June 30, 2013, 1624 (4:24 PM), active fire behavior, looking north-northwest, with two separate and distinct smoke columns suggesting a firing operation along the Sesame - Shrine Corridor; unburned, clear-air gap in the middle is the Shrine Youth Camp; Harper Canyon area on the right. Source: Jerry Thompson (Sun City West FD) and Joy A. Collura and Paint
Consider now (below) one short video clip of SCW FD FF Thompson (Figure 18b.) and one panoramic photo (Figure 19.) of June 30, 2013, aggressive fire behavior. The specific time and location of the photo in Figure 19. is unknown, however, based on the Figure 18b. video clip it is likely within the same June 30, 2013, 1600 (4:00 PM) to 1627 (4:27 PM) timeframe and very likely in The Shrine area based on these unique boulders and the visible, dense chaparral fuel bed.
Figure 18b. June 30, 2013, 1627 (4:27 PM) short video clip similar to other fire behavior videos and photos in the same time period. Surrounding fuels and terrain are unique to the Shrine area Source: SCW FD FF Thompson
Figure 19. June 30, 2013, photo - unknown time, yet likely within the 1600 (4:00 PM) to 1640 (4:40 PM) timeframe revealing very aggressive fire behavior based on flame lengths and intensity. This is likely in The Sesame to Shrine areas based on these boulders and the visible fuel bed. Source: Collura records
What follows is another one of those "lost sheep" photo without any metadata indicating time
Figure 19a. (left) June 30, 2013, photo - unknown time, yet likely within the 1600 (4:00 PM) to 1640 (4:40 PM) timeframe revealing increasing fire behavior based on flame lengths and intensity. This is likely in The Sesame to Shrine areas based on ?? Figure 19b. same date and timeframe as Figure 19a. with Collura's additional comments on details, saved as PDF to preclude any metadata information Source: ADOSH records included in AZ Forestry and Collura records
Based on anecdotes and comments of three separate firing operations, there was: (1) a training academy where the students were engaged in a group discussion about extreme fire behavior on the June 30, 2013, YH Fire, which eventually segued into human factors; (2) a separate (circa 1432) firing operation in a spur road area by a Single Resource Agency Type 3 Engine (Figures 8. and 8c.); (3), a municipal PFD FF perspective at the BSR; and (4) a 25-year veteran WF, using the avatar “Downhillndirect” (DND), that spoke with each of these individuals about their respective likely firing operations involvement.
Quotes and paraphrases from DND’s proximate dialogue notes with the respective likely firing operations personnel follow. Excerpts from military literature on the historic notion of “friendly fire” were assessed and then applied to the wildland fire equivalent. Wildland “friendly fire” incidents originate mostly from veteran WFs and FFs anecdotes and experiences, several of those from InvestigativeMEDIA website and Wildland Fire LLC posts on this vital contentious issue.
‘The training academy FF student (SFF) spoke of “firing out multiple spur roads while trying to keep it square so it wouldn’t jump the main road. I asked several times if the area was clear of FFs and civilians before they did any firing.’ A supervisor told them: “Sometimes we do things we have to, not because we want to.” He thought the Firing Boss was ‘part of the IMT … like a Structure Protection Specialist’ … ‘the closer we got to the Sesame Street and Shrine area … a feeling of absolute panic as we pulled out.’ …‘we could hear everything those guys were saying. Marsh said that the [BSR] isn’t that far from where he thought the guys are now … we knew Marsh went down that ridge a few times before [the guys deployed].’
The SFF continues: ‘We were part of a firing operation off one of the spur roads .. close to where everybody piled out [Sesame Street to Shrine Road near Miner Rd] about twenty (20) min before hearing all the ruckus on the radio about the GMHS, Air Attack, yelling …we had the Engine out in front. No spots, absolute miracle because the wind was howling parallel with the road they were on and every now and then gust over the road and throw embers, but no spots. The Engine was going fast; we had a hard time keeping up with it.’
The SFF also noted: ‘the urgency and fear in the eyes of everyone was unnatural. It was burning in so fast … it was ripping right in. We tied into a corner, a bunch of vehicles came out including the BRHS and the GMHS buggies … [he started crying again]. … we felt much better lighting to the corner of this road intersection, because … we figured they [GMHS] were out of the area.’
The SFF also noted: ‘The fire was gone, half mile or mile away from us within 5–10 min of firing, uphill and gone. We all staged in our rigs listening to the TAC channels and then we heard the GMHS A/G chaos. The [Engine] Crew, including our Captain, felt like we couldn’t breathe. He said he felt like he was going to have a panic attack; then Captain said: “we just f**king killed people.” The SFF stated they were later spoken to by several higher ranking WF/FF Supervisors in Yarnell telling them that ‘everything was gonna be alright’ and ‘you saved a lot of structures …’
Indeed, there is unsettled evidence of a Sesame Street and Shrine Fuel/Fire Break Corridor firing operation. Consider the legal literature on standing for legal credibility utilizing the Arizona Rule 803. Exceptions to the Rule Against Hearsay to qualify WF DND’s accounts as having “particular probative value” (evidence sufficiently useful to prove something important in trial). At the training academy, after this Extreme Fire Behavior session discussing the YH Fire, instructors were sternly directed by the Program Director that ‘YH Fire discussions to get preapproved USFS Regional and Washington Office lesson plans’ and ‘no disrespecting the dead and no YH Fire talk here.’
And here is a comment from "Alex" - an experienced WF regarding some "friendly fire" that he suffered: "I have personally seen the results of this in having backburns lit under my crew by hotshot crews that no one knew were in the area, ..." (emphasis added) (WLF LLC - Has Nothing Changed)
Consider now the Peeples Valley FD (PVFD) Daily Courier article (2014 and 2018) titled "A Narrow escape: Peeples Valley firefighters recount that frightening day." This is followed by an undated Yarnell Hill Recovery Group article titled "Caught in the Firestorm." Albeit somewhat lengthy, these respectively serve as a segue into the vast array of environmental and human dynamics these FFs were experiencing in the Sesame Street and Shrine Corridor area during this 1600 (4:00 PM) to 1630 (4:30 PM) firing operation timeframe. For a group of Hybrid FFs with probably very little wildland fire experience, these guys had a lot going on based on statements like this: "We felt impending doom ... I didn't think we were going to make it."
With the majority of editing in the second article, there will be a lot of redacting, editing out of complete sentences and irrelevant paragraphs throughout the article for those sections specifically unrelated to the fire weather, fire behavior, firing operations, tactics, or strategy.
And while you are reading about their harrowing experiences and near misses please keep in mind those beneficial, proven, tried-and-trued Wildland Firefighting Basics (10 and 18 and LCES).
Figure 20. June 30, 2013, 1600 to 1700 est. (4:00-5:00 PM est.), active fire behavior with as many as three separate and distinct smoke columns (plumes) suggesting a firing operation within the Youth Camp in the Shrine. PVFD Water Tender news article titled: "A Narrow escape: Peeples Valley [FD] firefighters recount that frightening day" (Snippet) Source: Daily Courier originally published June 30, 2014
A Narrow Escape - The Daily Courier (June 30, 2014)
YARNELL - Bob Brandon and Ron Smith feel lucky to be alive after running for their lives from the Yarnell Hill wildfire. (all emphasis added)
"They were among the Peeples Valley firefighters working in a valley on the west edge of Yarnell, only about three-quarters of a mile from the site where the flames overran 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots and killed them on June 30, 2013.
"Four Peeples Valley firefighters, two from Wickenburg and two from Sun City were cutting a line between the wildfire and the town of Yarnell on that fateful day. It was the same line that the Blue Ridge and the Granite Mountain hotshot crews were helping to build.
"When Brandon and Smith arrived on the property near the Shrine of St. Joseph that day, the blaze was threatening their own community of Peeples Valley to the north instead of Yarnell. They figured they would just be doing mop-up work.
"The Blue Ridge Hotshots and the eight men from Yarnell, Wickenburg and Sun City came together from different directions at about 2:30 p.m. and followed a bulldozer to improve the line behind it.
"The dozer apparently was unable to cross a deep ravine and turned around. The eight men from Yarnell, Wickenburg and Sun City had to cut through the last quarter-mile or so of dense oak, catclaw and manzanita on their own. Brandon said he later found out from the dozer operator that he left not because of the ravine, but because he had been warned that the fire changed course.
"The Blue Ridge Hotshots left about the same time, Brandon said. Capt. Brandon had placed Peeples Valley firefighter Matt Keehner as a lookout on a hill of boulders where the fire line was supposed to end. The hill was between the firefighters and the fire. About 3 p.m. Keehner came down, telling Brandon he heard on the radio about a change in the weather but he was unclear about the nature of the change.
"Smith said he stopped for the hourly weather report at [3:00 PM] and heard the wind was shifting to the east, but he never heard later that the wind shifted again to the southeast.
"We didn't think we were in immediate danger, or they wouldn't put us in there," Smith said.
"Brandon, who was stationed with the vehicles, noticed an air tanker stopped dropping retardant on an east-to-west line and moved to a north-south line. Brandon and Keehner decided to move their water tender and engine away from the thick brush and closer to the house on the property.
Brandon was in shock when he got out of the water tender and looked up in the sky at about 3:45 p.m.
"The smoke and fire was going straight up and I thought, 'Holy crap,'" he related. The flames on the other side of the 60-foot to 70-foot-high hill where Keehner had stood were twice as high as the hill, and they were coming toward the firefighters.
"The heat was just tremendous, it was like waves," he said. "All the tops of the trees just went 'snap snap snap' like that on fire."
"Brandon feared his fellow firefighters would have to deploy their shelters. The fire was too loud to talk. In the midst of the chaos, he texted them and they said they were OK.
"Their group supervisor pulled up and told Brandon and Keehner they had to move their trucks out. Brandon refused, telling the commander that his crew was still in there. The supervisor repeated his order, saying the other guys couldn't run that fast.
"Brandon didn't want to think about what the supervisor meant. Brandon and Keehner followed the order, but tried to move as slowly as possible as they turned on the trucks and headlights.
"They went about 100 feet to the shrine parking lot and waited at the end of the ravine, hoping their buddies would run straight to them through the sandy gulch. They decided they wouldn't go any farther until they saw their buddies. Then they spotted them running down the road, followed by the Wickenburg and Sun City vehicles.
"It happened so fast," Smith said. He credits fellow Peeples Valley Capt. Jake Moder with saving his life by keeping a close eye on their situation while they were digging and cutting the line.
"While they were building the line, Moder saw the hill to the north catching fire. Smith knew it was time to run when he saw Moder's face as he ran toward him about 4 p.m.
"We felt impending doom," he recalled. 'We were literally running and it was coming at us fast. You could feel it burning the hair on the back of your neck and sizzling your arms.'
"I didn't think we were going to make it."
"They ran down the ravine about 100 yards and were angry when they realized the trucks were gone. But when they cut over to the paved road, they felt like they were going to survive.
"We were probably two minutes from becoming a statistic," Smith said. "You'd have a memorial here for us."
"They ran down the paved road toward their safety zone at the shrine parking lot. The Wickenburg and Sun City firefighters offered them a ride but they could see their own trucks by then.
"Smith said he realized that his buddies might have saved his life by moving the trucks, because that kept him and Moder from trying to stop and get the vehicles. It's likely they already would have been burned up, Brandon added.
"At their shrine safety zone, they heard on their radios that the fire had breached one of the evacuation trigger points but they didn't know which one. They were supposed to have an hour from one of the trigger points to evacuate; they got about four minutes.
"They heard 19 firefighters were unaccounted for, but they didn't imagine they were dead. They thought their group supervisor might have worried it was them, since he came back up the road.
"They were parked at the shrine when the fire blew over the edge of the parking lot and on over the hill to the southeast.
"Then they met up with other firefighters at the Ranch House Restaurant on the east side of Highway 89 and saw the flames jump the four-lane highway.
"Smith's injuries are more psychological. He knew the Granite Mountain Hotshots from various training courses, and GMHS Supt. Eric Marsh was among his instructors.
"These guys will be remembered for lifetimes," he said. "They'll change the way fires are fought.
"It really brought a lot of people together. It tore some apart, too."
For Brandon and Smith, it brought them together.
"Brandon ... hopes that one of the lessons learned from the fire is that fire commanders will listen more to local firefighters.
"He said Peeples Valley firefighters wanted to hike in and put out the Yarnell Hill wildfire the day lightning ignited it, but were told to stand down. Smith said the Yarnell Hill fire taught him to pay much closer attention to the weather on the fire line.
"I will always be on top of it now," he said, noting he took a weather class at the Arizona Wildfire Academy this year. "We knew the fire was going toward Peeples Valley, and we never thought about it coming back on us."
Bob Brandon - Gets Caught in the Firestorm, Helps Rebuild - Yarnell Hill Recovery Group article
The link to the above undated Yarnell Hill Recovery Group article is a dead end, even when using the Internet Archive Wayback Machine. There are at least 36 references in this IM Chapter XIV link that mention "Harper Canyon" that relate to this article and all the various firing operations going on there at the time.
The Peeples Valley Firefighters themselves, who almost died in Harper Canyon, have testified that they were extensively interviewed just 48 hours after that tragic Sunday, and that investigators from Arizona Forestry also received photos, videos, and copies of their cellphone records from Sunday.
None of that collected evidence has ever seen the light of day. So where did that all end up? Most likely in the "we will never know" folder.
"On June 30, 7:30 a.m., we all met for a briefing at Model Creek School, which was the Incident Command Post. The commander said we were in a sector, I don't remember if it was Zulu or not. But we were to go down Shrine as far as we could go to that abandoned house that's at the end.
"Peeples Valley had two trucks. I was the tender driver. We were to go to that ranch house and then into the black area, the burned area west of that house, and we were to start clearing a roadway for a firebreak to connect with a bulldozer that would be coming from Glen Ilah so the fire could not come back into Yarnell.
"My job was to map out the safety zone and send a lookout up on top of Boulder Mountain so we would have a zone to get back to and a lookout to tell them if anything starts going bad.
"Probably mid-afternoon, the bulldozer came rambling through the woods. It kind of looked like Jurasic (sic) Park, knocking down trees, clearing a roadway. When it arrived at our location, I was just sitting by my tanker taking pictures of it because it was just kind of an awesome site.
"When he pushed though the woods and got to our location, all of a sudden, he turned around, did a 180 and took off. He never finished the roadway he was supposed to do for us. We were confused because now we had to finish it by ourselves. .
"Maybe around 3 p.m., or approximately that time, we started noticing that the slurry bomber was not going from north to south, but east to west. It [the fire] had changed direction.
"About that time, the Blue Ridge Hot Shots arrived on our scene and they started to march in. It was actually a two-pronged attack on this road we were supposed to be cutting. We were to the north [The Shrine] and they were to the south [Sesame Street] of us along the bulldozed road.
"Then the sky started really looking funny. To that point we never had any smoke or fire to speak of that was threatening us. The fire was quite a ways away, about a mile. My lookout came down off the mountain and said that there was a problem because he just got the weather report and they talked about the changing winds, but he didn't understand what it meant.
"We looked up behind Boulder Mountain [Harper Canyon] and we noticed that the fire was standing straight up, right behind Boulder Mountain about 100 feet high. And we're thinking, That's not right. Because the fire was way north of us, clear up to Peeples Valley.
"As the sky started to darken, we were getting really nervous about what was going on. Well the Hot Shots from Blue Ridge came running out of the woods, and I mean just as fast as they could go, and this was heavy forest. They just came running out of the woods, jumped in their trucks and left. And I'm thinking, Wait a minute. They're professionals. We do this on a volunteer basis, so what aren't we seeing?
"I had an alarm that we had set up. I was going to turn the siren on and start pressing the siren so they could hear us, and that meant to abandon and come back and we'll get out. Well, when I started the alarm, the Incident Commander for our area came pulling up, and he said, 'I want you to get these trucks out of here.'
"I says, 'I can't do that.' [and] 'He said, 'You have to do it now.'"
"And I said, 'No. There's six men still like a mile out into the forest and they need to come back to this safe zone, because this is where they know it is.' ... "And he said, 'No. I'm telling you to leave now.'"
"I told my lookout, I said, 'Go to their trucks and put the keys in the ignition and start the trucks so when they come running out of the woods and they get to their truck they don't have to look for their keys.'
"He said, 'We're not going to leave,' and I said, 'Yeah, we're going to leave but we're going to drive very slow.'
"Well he didn't want to and I told him, 'We have to. This is what we have to do.'
"The next instant, the fire dropped right over the top of us like a gigantic hand and everything around us was on fire. It was pitch black. Matt could not even see the hood of the truck. You could see nothing. And there were fires and fireballs and flames in every direction.
"And I said, 'Start driving very slow.'
"I turned on all my lights and started driving very slowly down this little path back to the Shrine. That was approximately 2 ½ miles. So we were just picking our way, really slow hoping that somebody would get to us or see the truck and get in.
"Well we drove all the way to the Shrine and about that time the Shrine was on fire. The hills were on fire around us and we met the IC and we told him that we're not going any further.
"We said, "We need to get our six men that are back there." We didn't have any radio contact with them because it was so loud. It was like being in the back of a jet aircraft on a runway.
"So we were shouting at each other. About that time two Peeples Valley firefighters popped out through the black. And we got them over to the trucks and I said, 'There's still four more.'
"So he jumped back up to his truck and went back up the road. And he was met with the ones coming out with their trucks. So we all did meet at the Shrine.
"We were quite nervous at that. The winds were probably blowing between 40 and 50 mph, and we told them there's not much for us to do. We made it to the Ranch House just when the fire came over the top of the highway by the Assembly of God Church and went up around the Ranch House.
"I was fortunate enough that I had a camera in my jumper. So I was taking 'pictures all the time, any time I had a spare moment.' ...
"... it was quite chaotic and probably one of the more frightening days you ever have in your life.
"The four of us from Peeples Valley joined back up at the Ranch House and we decided we were going to go back to the Model Creek grade school. So we slowly made our way back.
"It was 4-ish, 4:30, in the afternoon and it was pitch black. You'd think it's nighttime. ... Glen Ilah was virtually on fire and propane tanks were blowing up all around us ... It would be like going into a war zone."
"So it was a pretty confusing couple of days. We didn't know then that we were part of a group. Peeples Valley, Blue Ridge and Granite Mountain were all in a team that we were supposed to join up on that road.
"It was funny because the next day it was almost like we had the plague because they didn't talk to us much and I couldn't figure out what was going on because we didn't get an assignment. They had us just kind of sit at our truck and it gets kind of unnerving, because you're just kind of sitting there all day.
"And I come to find out that, since we were burned over, the chance was we could have lost our lives, too. They wanted us to just sit and reflect for the day. So we did.
"The next day they took us in and debriefed us. This was two days after the incident with the 19. They went through and looked at my pictures and took a flash card of them. And I don't know what they did with them, but it was pretty good because my pictures had timelines on them, so they could see what happened at what time.
"Then they took information off our cellphones because that's how we talked to, texted, each other. And those all had timelines on them, too. What time we were there. What time we were aware that the fire was about to overtake us. What time we got out. And some of the texts about whether we were safe.
"I'm a believer in Jesus, and I prayed about it. And basically, I'm to help my fellow man. And that's when I said I don't ask or question why. These people are hurting and I'm here to do it, so I took it on as almost a mission project. So I just told them that I would, I just made the dedication to myself to God that I would do it. That I would stick with it, build these houses. I don't know if there's any one out there who would have stuck with it.
All of the above "Caught in the Firestorm" bolded and highlighted excerpts that are put together in paragraph form immediately above are definitely referring to the Sesame Street to Shrine Fuel / Fire Break Corridor and the Firing Operation, including the fact that Brandon gave the SAIT "Investigators" his and others' photos and cell phone data were copied to "flash cards" and these are nowhere to be found, (i.e. "And I don't know what they did with them.") And they even denied that they exist in recent FOIA Requests, (i.e. "we will never know").
Figure 21. YH Fire IMG_5682. June 30, 2013, 1630 (4:30 PM) hazy view of the Sesame Street and Shrine areas. indicating lowering, compressed smoke columns, suggesting that outflow, downdraft winds may be imminent. Source: Jerry Thompson Photos Videos (Sun City West FD).
The smoke visible in Figure 21. (above) as well as the comments by FF Thompson are clearly indicative of potentially disastrous, impending downdrafts as the result of outflow winds
JT IMG_5682 text - June 30, 2013, 1630 (4:30 PM): "I took this last pic right before hiking to our truck and out to our safety zone, we are approx 3/4 mile south of Blue Ridge Hotshots at this point, they where working NW of the shrine, and believe GM is 3/4of a mile southwest of us." (emphasis added)
Figure 21a. Crossfade video of a photo taken at 4:24 PM on June 30, 2013, at the Yarnell Hill Fire. Source: Jerry Thompson Photos Videos (Sun City West FD), YouTube, WTKTT
The 4:24 PM video frame Snippet depicted in Figure 21.a (above) was taken by firefighter Jerry Thompson. He and his Sun-City-West Engine BR131 Crew were serving as 'lookouts' at a location just West of 'Westway' in Yarnell. The yellow line that appears in the crossfade video represents the Sesame Street and Shrine dozer line. The image shows that, circa 4:24 PM, the fire was definitely coming into the town of Yarnell from out in the 'middle bowl' area, but there was no 'fire' or 'smoke' actually emanating from the Youth Camp or the dozer line itself.
Figure 22. IMG_3954 photo on Sunday, June 30, 2103, 1629:40 (4:29:40 PM); View of active fire behavior on hillside in the Sesame/Shrine area with FFs, FF vehicles, and UTVs visible in the center of the photo. Source: Thomas Woodley Records Request 9-10-14\A08-20130630 Blue Ridge Hotshot Photos Videos
Figure 23. IMG_3955 photo on Sunday, June 30, 2013, 1629:42 (4:29:42 PM); View of increased active fire behavior on the same hillside in the Figure 22. photo above in the Sesame/Shrine area with FFs, vehicles, and UTVs visible in the center of the photo. Source: Thomas Woodley Records Request 9-10-14\A08-20130630 Blue Ridge Hotshot Photos Videos
Figure 24. IMG_3956 photo on Sunday,June 30, 2103, 1629:48 (4:29:48 PM) View of increasing fire behavior on hillside above in the Sesame/Shrine area with two Glendale (AZ) FD vehicles pictured, the left one is a Type 6 engine and the right one is a Battalion Chief Command vehicle. Source: Thomas Woodley Records Request 9-10-14\A08-20130630 Blue Ridge Hotshot Photos Videos\Yarnell-Wardemups
Figure 25. Blue Ridge Hotshots ( Mccord ) photo.This is the view on Sunday, June 30, 2013, 1627:23 (4:27:23 PM) of smoke columns (plumes) with dark smoke indicative of increasing and/or intense fire behavior from somewhere in the Shrine area. Metadata included: File Size: 2.3 MB Camera Make: NIKON Camera Model Name: COOLPIX S01 for June 30, 2013.
Source: Thomas Woodley Records Request 9-10-14\A08-20130630 Blue Ridge Hotshot Photos Videos
Figure 26. (IMG_1334.JPG photo) View looking westerly from Yarnell, AZ traveling North on Highway 89, North of the Ranch House restaurant (the building on left is Assembly of God church) on June 30, 2013, 16:29:39 (4:29:39 PM) showing aggressive fire behavior and associated smoke column (plume) advancing toward the Helms / Boulder Springs Ranch (BSR) area. Source: Brian Lauber (AZSF)
Figure 26a. (IMG_1334.JPG photo)1629:39 (4:29:39 PM) with Google Earth overlay image of Figure 20. (above) The uppermost red icon on the ridge is the GMHS Mackenzie photo spot, the curved yellow line is the ridgetop and/or midslope road, the middle red icon in the saddle on the ridgetop is the GMHS "descent point" down to the next red icon at the GMHS Deployment Zone; the lowest red icon is the Helms, BSR. Source: Brian Lauber (AZSF) and WTKTT
It is noteworthy that this IMG_1334.JPG photo was given to SAIT self-proclaimed Human Factors Lead Investigator Brad Mayhew - Predictably and likely by design, it was never included in the SAIT-SAIR!
Figure 27. IMG_1335 photo on June 30, 2013, 1629:53 (4:29:53 PM) fourteen seconds later than IMG_1334 photo. Location and fire behavior description basically the same as Figure 26. (above) Source: Misc.YH Fire photos Drop Box
“There is no evil under the sun but what is to be dreaded from men, who may do what they please with impunity: They seldom or never stop at certain degrees of mischief when they have power to go farther; but hurry on from wickedness to wickedness, as far and as fast as human malice can prompt human power."
“It is nothing strange, that men, who think themselves unaccountable, should act unaccountably.”
— Thomas Gordon, Cato’s Letters No. 33 (1721)
As painful as it may be to some, bear in mind that the GMHS have supposedly left their Lunch Spot / Safety Zone without notifying anyone and they are hiking right down into some serious danger. Regarding Figure 26. and Figure 27. - just to the left of the smoke column (plume) and the line of fire in both of these photos is the ‘hazy’ mountain ridge seen in the background which was the exact ‘southern route’ that the GMHS took to reach the saddle and then drop into the box canyon. Even though the line of fire out in the middle-bowl is approaching the mouth of the box canyon, there are only supposedly 540 seconds (less than nine minutes) before GMHS Steed’s first Mayday radio transmission.
Significantly, there is NO EVIDENCE in these two photos that the line of fire was also simultaneously ‘crawling up’ those back ridges towards the saddle as the SAIT-SAIR (Figure 18 - p. 77) suggested in their idealized image reposted here in Figure 28. below.
It’s NOT happening! The SAIT wants you to believe a lie.
So then, that puts a big damper on the ‘theory’ that the GMHS saw fire both ahead of and behind them (up on the saddle they descended from) at 4:39 PM when the first Mayday went out. The above Figure 26. and Figure 27. photos are from the AZ Department of Safety and Health (ADOSH) ASFD misc. photos file, taken with an ‘iPhone 4′ on 30 June 2013; time-stamps can be considered ‘Network times’ and ‘accurate.’ These pictures show the main fireline as it approached the mouth of the box canyon circa 4:29 PM, actually just a few seconds shy of 4:30 PM.
Consider now the insidious SAIT-SAIR pattern of first establishing a conclusion and then finding the alleged "facts" to support it method of unethical "investigation" using this phony idealized image in (Figure 28. below) instead of the real photo of the real event in Figures 26. and 27. (above) that was given to the self-proclaimed "Lead Investigator" Brad Mayhew and never used in the official SAIT-SAIR.
Figure 28. Idealized image of SAIT-SAIR Figure 18 on page 77 that falsely concluded: "Fire splitting with south head entering the middle bowl and north head moving toward the entrapment bowl." Source: YH Fire SAIT-SAIR ( https://www.wildfirelessons.net/HigherLogic/System/DownloadDocumentFile.ashx?DocumentFileKey=4c98c51d-102c-4e04-86e0-b8370d2beb27&forceDialog=0 )
Figure 29. Purdy photo taken on June 30, 2013, at 1630 (4:30 PM) from along Deer Track above the BSR. The two cross-fade videos were made from this photo. Source: Purdy, AZ Central
Figure 29a. Yarnell Hill Fire - 2013 - Purdy Photo 1; This photograph was taken circa 4:30 PM on Sunday, June 30, 2013 at a residence on the far western edge of Glen Ilah. Source: Purdy, YouTube, WTKTT
Escape from Yarnell - Published 6:53 p.m. ET April 1, 2014 | Updated 7:01 p.m. ET April 1, 2014 ( https://www.lancastereaglegazette.com/story/behind-the-lens/2014/04/01/escape-yarnell-forest-fire-arizona/7178687 )
This link takes you to an article and a video with some good fire behavior,. including some from Ms. Purdy's house (0:24 to 0:33) from which WTKTT made these two cross-fade videos in Figures 29a. and 29b.
Figure 29b. Yarnell Hill Fire - 2013 - Purdy Photo 2; This photograph was taken circa 4:30 PM on Sunday, June 30, 2013 at a residence on the far western edge of Glen Ilah. Source: Purdy, YouTube, WTKTT
Figure 30. June 30, 2013,1631 (4:31 PM) photo of aggressive fire behavior and smoke column (plume) along Hwy, 89 behind Mountainairre market Source: Tham (RiP)
Figure 31. June 30, 2013,1631 + (4:31 + PM) photo of much more aggressive and increased fire behavior and smoke column (plume) along Hwy, 89 behind Mountainairre market Source: Tham (RiP)
Figure 32. MARY NGUYEN Channel 12 News photo of June 30, 2013. 1631 (4:31 PM) of very aggressive fire behavior advancing toward the Helms and BSR area. This is a full two minutes after the 1629 (4:29 PM) Brian Lauber photos above in Figures 26 and 27. Source: Channel 12 News photo
Next, consider this KPNX 12 News article titled "Tribute center for Granite Mountain Hotshots ready to open" by Jessica De Nova. It was published and updated on June 25, 2018. ( https://www.12news.com/article/news/local/arizona/tribute-center-for-granite-mountain-hotshots-ready-to-open/75-567450256 )
The Channel 12 News article has an informative slide show located in the middle of the article with 30 photos of the YH Fire from their original archives, including their photo number 16 (our Figure 32) is particularly instructive. It appears to be a new one (at the time), recently released in 2018. In a word, it is IMPORTANT. It may be the best photographic evidence yet of the YH Fire movement entering the box canyon minutes before all the GMHS would be burned over. (paraphrasing WTKTT)
The photo was taken the afternoon of June 30, 2013, just south of the Ranch House Restaurant, on the east side of Highway 89 and looking out towards the box canyon and the deployment site. It was taken at exactly 4:31 PM, just 8 minutes before the GMHS initial emergency radio call was recorded at exactly 4:39 PM.
WTKTT interpreted the photo metadata and is pretty confident with "exactly 4:31 PM" because this particular photo was taken with a network-connected iPhone 4S that always obtains accurate date/time information directly from the cellular network and the original photo sitting on the ’12 News’ server still has all that (accurate) EXIF metadata embedded in the photograph itself. This particular photo is also important because it appears to disprove a number of claims made in the original SAIT-SAIR.
This June 30, 2013, 1631 (4:31 PM) photograph (Figure 32.) was used to create the cross-fade video below from the photograph itself into the absolute equivalent ‘Google Earth’ view in Figure 25. (below) The photo ‘cross-fade’ - ‘fly-around’ is located at ( https://youtu.be/NSYpnPMfPmc )
The KPNX 12 News article is also posted at InvestigativeMEDIA post June 27, 2018 at 11:41 pm ( https://youtu.be/_p6h5m6_W0k ) and (http://www.investigativemedia.com/please-begin-yarnell-hill-fire-chapter-xxvi-here/#comment-474595 ) http://dffm.az.gov/sites/default/files/YHR_Data_092813_0.pdf )
Figure 33. Yarnell Hill Fire cross-fade video of June 30, 2013 at 1631 (4:31 PM) of Figure 11, Channel 12 News photo above. This is a ‘through the looking glass’ cross-fades from the photograph itself into the absolute equivalent ‘Google Earth’ view. After the cross-fade it ‘flies around’ the Yarnell/Glen Ilah area showing exactly where the line of fire was at 4:31 PM, as seen in the Figure 11 photo. The video ends back where it starts where the photo was taken and then ‘cross-fades’ back up into the original photo again. Source: Channel 12 News, Google Earth, and IM contributor WTKTT
Based on Joy A. Collura's local knowledge, what follows are three photographs of aggressive fire behavior and associated separate and distinct columns (plumes) in the Shrine to Sesame Street Corridor area. Pay particular attention to the big semi-clear gap on the right between smoke columns (plumes) in Figure 34. (below). Harper Canyon (not visible) is far to the right - out of sight - which belies any, and all, of the alleged "spot fire" theory both falsely and incorrectly peddled by so many Naysayers and Party Liners as fact.
Figure 34. June 30, 2013, 1630 (4:30 PM) timeframe. YHF Sesame Street and Shrine Corridor at the junction of Oak Way, Juniper, and Willow in Yarnell, AZ Source: YouTube, Rob Leatham, Yarnell Fire Rebuild Fund 2013
Figure 34a. June 30, 2013, 1630 (4:30 PM) timeframe on the YH Fire The photo view of the fire in the background is of the Sesame Street and Shrine Corridor and taken from near the junction of Oak Way, Juniper, and Willow in Yarnell, AZ. NOTE the photographer's statement: "My home is right here behind the trees" in lower right. Source: YouTube, Rob Leatham, Yarnell Fire Rebuild Fund 2013
NOTE: In the lower right corner (Figure 34a.) the photographer states: "My home is right here behind the trees"
Figure 34b. June 30, 2013, 1630 (4:30 PM) timeframe. YHF Sesame Street and Shrine Corridor at the junction of Oak Way, Juniper, and Willow in Yarnell, AZ. Aggressive fire behavior is visible in the lower left. Source: YouTube, Rob Leatham, Yarnell Fire Rebuild Fund 2013
Consider now several of Yarnell resident Dakota Sloane's Yarnell Hill Fire Facebook videos reveal fire on the outskirts of Yarnell and entering into town on June 30, 2013, between 4:30 PM and 4:40 PM. The quality is good to marginal considering the circumstances.
I exclude the first video from Saturday night, June 29, 2013, so my sequence will not jive with his numbering of the videos.
This following in depth video analysis and commentary is from IM contributor WantsToKnowTheTruth. Thank you WTKTT!
** THE VIDEOS ** SECOND VIDEO – Sunday, June 30, 2013 – circa 4:30 PM In the SECOND video at the top of his page… that is a ‘distance view’ of when the fire was cresting the ridge(s) over near Shrine road and perhaps the same moment that all fire resources were evacuating the Shrine area. You can apparently hear that same ‘siren’ that was being sounded by Tyson Esquibel over at the Youth Camp to ‘recall’ his crews from the end of Shrine road ( the Harper Canyon end ) that is ALSO heard in the Jerry Thompson videos AND in Blue Ridge Hotshot McCord’s YARNELL-GAMBLE video shot at exactly 1627 ( 4:27 PM ). He was standing in the driveway of a house at 11128 Crest Way in Yarnell… which is actually just one block EAST ( up the hill ) and one block SOUTH of the Yarnell Fire Station on ‘Looka Way’. He appears to have been standing exactly HERE at the top of the driveway at this address when he shot this video. (34.220900, -112.744835) NOTE: When he ZOOMS in to the NORTHWEST and towards the Shrine Road area in this video you will see the white ‘church spire’ of the ‘Community Presbyterian’ church where he is going to stop and shoot his NEXT video not long after this one. ** THIRD VIDEO – Sunday afternoon – circa 4:40 PM His THIRD video where he is shouting “It’s now entering town” is downright scary. There are fire-fronts EVERYWHERE on the horizon as he shoots due WEST.
This video was shot at pretty much the same location as his SECOND video up there near that driveway on Crest Way. ** FOURTH VIDEO – Sunday afternoon – circa 4:45 PM His FOURTH video ( the one where he never holds the camera still ) is equally scary. It looks like he probably WAS up there on ‘Crest Way’ on the EAST side of Highway 89 for the previous video since they now appear to be ‘evacuating’ via the north end of Crest Way and they have stopped on the road right where the ‘Community Presbyterian’ Church is to shoot this video. They are shooting to the SOUTHWEST, towards the box canyon and across the parking lot of the church. This could actually be right around time of deployment. The camera is too shaky and the footage too ‘blurry’ to really make much of anything out in the VIDEO itself but some ‘still’ shots taken from the video frames might actually be ‘in focus’. The video camera was exactly HERE when this video was take. (34.223003, -112.744509) That’s right at that point where Crest Way turns into Tabletop Way as it curls east and meets Highway 89. There are more videos… but they appear to all be AFTER the time of deployment. More later… Reply WantsToKnowTheTruth says JUNE 20, 2014 AT 3:53 AM Forgot to mention… All in all the new Dakota Sloane photos don’t seem to be all that significant but the VIDEOS are actually quite important. They show the fire progression into Yarnell from an ELEVATED vantage point to the EAST of town and a lot of the actual FIRELINES are now clearly visible instead of just a bunch of ‘smoke clouds’ as seen in most of the other photos/videos taken from ‘in town’ that afternoon. They really need to be studied further." (all emphasis is added)
Figure 35. Yarnell resident Sloane Video YH Fire on the fringes of Yarnell. Sesame Street area appears as video pans to the left - "it's over Boulder Mountain" which is also known as Harper Canyon Source: Dakota Sloane
Sloane Video YH Fire on the fringes of Yarnell - Sesame Street area appears as video pans to the left - Sloane says "it's over Boulder Mountain" which is also known as Harper Canyon
Figure 35a. Yarnell resident Sloane Video YH Fire on the outskirts of Yarnell Source: Dakota Sloane
Sloane video revealing fire on the outskirts of town.
Figure 35b. Yarnell resident Sloane Video YH Fire -"It's now entering town ..." Source: Dakota Sloane
Sloane Video YH Fire encroaching into Yarnell - "It's now entering town ..."
Figure 35c. Yarnell resident Sloane Video YH Fire from Lighthouse Church parking lot (near the American Legion) revealing fire in the Sesame Street and Shrine Corridor areas on outskirts of town Source: Dakota Sloane
Sloane video from Lighthouse Church parking lot (near the American Legion) revealing fire in the Sesame Street and Shrine Corridor areas on outskirts of town
Figure 35d. Yarnell resident Sloane Video YH Fire from the Episcopal Church area off Highway 89 revealing fire in various locations around town and in the Sesame Street and Shrine Corridor areas on outskirts of town Source: Dakota Sloane
Sloane video from the Episcopal Church area off Highway 89 revealing fire in various locations around town
Figure 35e. Yarnell resident Sloane video as he is driving out of town with the Crestway and Happy Way junction signs, Keehners along the road. Source: Dakota Sloane
Sloane video driving out of town, Crestway and Happy Way junction signs are visible in passing, Keehners walking along the road
What follows below are a few Snippets and Screenshots from the videos above just in case the videos disappear.
Figure 35f. June 30, 2013, circa 1630 (4:30 PM) to 1640 (4:40 PM) Screenshot of Yarnell local resident video. Source: Dakota Sloane
Figure 35g. June 30, 2013, 1630 (4:30 PM) to 1640 (4:40 PM) Screenshot of Yarnell local resident video revealing smoke column (plume) of Sesame Street area on far left.. Source: Dakota Sloane
Figure 35h. June 30, 2013, circa 1630 (4:30 PM) to 1640 (4:40 PM) Screenshots of Yarnell local resident video revealing fire encroaching into the town of Yarnell. Source: Dakota Sloane
Figure 35i. June 30, 2013, circa 1630 (4:30 PM) to 1640 (4:40 PM) Screenshot (left) of Yarnell local resident video revealing fire encroaching into the town of Yarnell and (right) of a local resident walking along the roadway. Source: Dakota Sloane
Figure 36.(left) IMG_3956.jpg photo on Sunday, June 30, 2013, 1635:06 (4:35:06 PM ) view of an increasing smoke column (plume) along Sesame Street heading toward the Helms / BSR. Blue/grey colored house in Yarnell, AZ next to the Assembly of God church to the right (outside photo) off of Hwy. 89. Source: Thomas Woodley Records Request 9-10-14\A08-20130630 Blue Ridge Hotshot Photos Videos\Yarnell-Wardemups
Figure 36a. (above - right) IMG_3956 photo. the yellow oval was added by SAIT investigators and shows the general location of the GMHS Deployment Zone area. Source: Thomas Woodley Records Request 9-10-14\A08-20130630 Blue Ridge Hotshot Photos Videos\Yarnell-Wardemups
Figure 36b. BRHS Wardemups Crossfade 1. video between BRHS Wardemups IMG_3957 taken at exactly 4:35:06 PM from the passenger side of one of the BRHS Crew Carriers as it was about to pull into the Ranch House Restaurant parking lot and a photo taken by Joy A. Collura from the exact same location shortly after Wardemups took his photo. It shows fire progression into the Glen Ilah area. The yellow circle was added by SAIT investigators and does, in fact, show the general location of the GMHS Deployment Zone area. Source: Wardemups, Collura, YouTube, WTKTT
Figure 37. June 30, 2013, 1631 (4:31 PM) aggressive fire behavior near the Yarnell Library street and Community Garden area. Source: Tham (RiP)
This photo (above) and the two photos that follow (Figures 37a. - 37b.) are of particular importance in the overarching Sesame Street and Shrine Corridor area firing operation according to Joy A. Collura because (1) it is 1631 (4:31 PM) during the critical firing operation,
"friendly fire," and ensuing GMHS entrapment timeframe; (2) it never made it to any of the SAIT or ADOSH Investigators; and (3)
Figure 37a. June 30, 2013, 1631 + ((4:31 + PM ) progression of aggressive fire behavior as seen in prior photo above near the Yarnell Library street and Community Garden area.Note the White VW bug Source: Tham (RiP)
Figure 37b. June 30, 2013, 1642 (4:42 PM) further progression of aggressive fire behavior viewed from above Hwy 89 near Crest Way. White VW bug is same as above prior photo Source: Tham (RiP)
Figure 38. June 30, 2013, 4:45 PM photo DSC011 revealing WFs and FFs and supervisors and their associated vehicles, in the Ranch House restaurant parking lot off Hwy. 89 in Yarnell, AZ with noticeably more dense smoke columns (plumes) in the background . The GMHS burnover was occurring in their Deployment Zone at this time. Source: Tom Story
Figure 39. June 30, 2013, 1646 (4:46 PM) aggressive fire behavior occurring between the Yarnell Library and the Post Office. Source: Tham (RiP)
Figure 40. June 30, 2013, 4:48 PM photo three minutes after the DSC011 photo. This photo reveals WFs and FFs and supervisors and their associated vehicles, in the Ranch House restaurant parking lot off Hwy. 89 in Yarnell, AZ with noticeably aggressive fire behavior in the background. The GMHS burnover was occurring in their Deployment Zone at this time. Source: AZ Republic Michelle Lee
Figure 41. (above). IMT Fire Behavior Analyst (FBAN) Byron Kimball public records photo (unknown if Kimball was photographer) indicating fire behavior in the Sesame Street to Shrine Fuel / Fire Break Corridor, on the YH Fire on June 30, 2013, 1705 (5:05 PM ) in the metadata insert. However, consistent with the YH Fire labeling pattern, metadata Snippet in Figure 41a. (below) the "Name :1647 Fire at Structures Yarnell North End 06_30 Properties" suggests that the photo was actually taken at 1647 (4:47 PM). Source: Yavapai County Records Request 7-9-14\SAIT Report and Documents\F-Photos And Videos\A14-20130630 Byron Kimball Photos
Figure 42. June 30, 2013, 1649 (4:49 PM) View is Northwesterly from the gate at Hwy. 89 and the entrance to at the Pack Burro Trail junction, leading to Pat Bernard's place, where Hybrid Sun City West FD Jerry Thompson June 30, 2013, 1624 (4:24 PM) fire behavior videos were taken (Posted Jan. 24, 2019). The very active, aggressive fire behavior in the background along and within the Sesame Street and Shrine Corridor. Source. YH Fire Tham (RiP) pics (Photo #267)
Clearly, Mr. Tham (RiP) was a very busy man during this short time period (1630 to 1650) as he was driving around and taking all these photographs to document for the Public at Large - the fire behavior that was occurring during the Sesame Street and Shrine Corridor firing operations period. Thank you for your many gifts Sir!
Consider now a progressive photo series (Figure 41. and 41a. - below) of nine June 30, 2013, 1600 (4:00 PM) to 1640 (4:40 PM) timeframe and unknown location or frame of reference video screenshots - Snippets of explosive to extreme fire behavior. If anyone recognizes any of the above details in any of the photos, please let me know, so that I can make the necessary particulars and source credit corrections. Thank you.
Sources for Snippets and Screenshots (below):
19 Firefighters Dead in Yarnell Hill Wildfire – June 30, 2013
Yarnell Fire - Keehner Rebuild Fund 2013 – August 24, 2013
Arizona fire claims the lives of 19 firefighters at Yarnell Hill – July 1, 2013
From a wildland firefighter's perspective,
these photographs are stunning!
Figure 43. Series of five YH Fire - June 30, 2013, 1600 (4:00 PM) to 1640 (4:40 PM) timeframe - unknown location of explosive to extreme fire behavior Source: ABC News, YouTube
Figure 43a. Series of five YH Fire - June 30, 2013, 1600 (4:00 PM) to 1640 (4:40 PM) timeframe - unknown location of explosive to extreme fire behavior Source: ABC News, YouTube
Figure 44. Former Yarnell Hill Fire Chief Peter Andersen (RiP) Interview (Oct. 8, 2013) describes the Arizona Forestry Division's response to the Yarnell Hill Fire that killed 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots on June 30, 2013. Source: YouTube, InvestigativeMEDIA.
This is an interview from an experienced - locally knowledgeable (Watch Out #4) - politically incorrect Fire Chief confidently and honestly speaking his mind about that day and the feckless SAIT and SAIR; even validating that a Sesame Street and Shrine Corridor area likely firing operation took place, (i.e. "Like they did here").
As former Yarnell Fire Chief Pete Anderson (RiP) asked: "Why did they even have a SAIT in the first place if they are going to have that kind of approach?" (emphasis added)
Former Yarnell Fire Chief Pete Anderson (RiP) forthrightly stated in an Oct. 8, 2013, video interview regarding the alleged SAIT "investigators" and "investigation" making several statements and asking many questions that deserve answering: "And whitewash that there was no wrongdoing on anybody's part as far as the report went but we're not here to point fingers. Well what are you here for? You're investigators. Investigators are supposed to investigate. They're supposed to point fingers. They're supposed to say 'what [it] is that had happened. ...'" (emphasis added)
Consider now the "Blue Ridge Hotshots 6:30:2013" video by Marti Reed
Figure 45. "This is a compendium of the Blue Ridge Hotshots Photos, (time-synchronized by me [Marti Reed] ) from the June 30, 2013, Yarnell Hill Fire, which killed 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots, released to John Dougherty of InvestigativeMedia website, via his FOIA request. Source: Marti Reed, InvestigativeMEDIA, YouTube
Figure 45a. Rock wall 3 photos of a rock wall on Shrine Road, about 100 yards west of where the pavement of Shrine Road ends and the dirt part begins. The red balloon seen in all in the satellite images represents that 100 yard distance. Source: YouTube, WTKTT
This rock wall seen in this video in Figure 44. (above) was clearly visible in the video of the Sesame Street Shrine Corridor firing operation that the twenty plus WFs, FFs, and citizens all watched in July 2013, at the Yarnell, AZ Library and to those that viewed it on YouTube before it vanished - like so many other YH Fire evidence records.
Figure 46. ABC15-clip-18-crossfade video.between ABC15 Helicopter Raw Video Footage clip number 18 ( taken at the Yarnell Hill Fire on Sunday afternoon, June 30, 2013 ) and the equivalent 'Google Earth' imagery. The 'orange firelines' in 'Google Earth' views only represent the fire that is clearly visible in the video footage and does not represent the totality of the fire that was on the ground when the clip was shot. Source: ABC News 15, YouTube, WTKTT
Figure 47. Yarnell-Fire-Time-Lapse-Video-Yarnell-View-1. The 2013 Yarnell Hill Fire time-lapse video as seen from both the original Congress location and from the Yarnell side. Source: Matt Oss Photography, YouTube, WTKTT
Consider these documented quotes and audio captures from the BRHS and other WFs regarding the Sesame Street and Shrine Corridor firing operations: "... the fire's been ... a lot's been happening these past 20 minutes, the fire's been pounding us real hard ... I think we're gonna start losing some structures in the next few minutes ...
[BRHS True Brown] "Making sure idiots aren't burning themselves up ... goddamn" ...
(M2U00264.MPG) ( https://www.dropbox.com/sh/ipv8to6ih7gmzbq/AAC82U3UuheEtc8GPHFn91vea?dl=0&preview=M2U00264.MPG )
BRHS True Brown's comment about "Making sure idiots aren't burning themselves up" is very informative and revealing, supporting the Sesame Street and Shrine Corridor area evidence of as many as three separate likely firing operations - the main premise of this website.
According to amazing photography buff and metadata master Marti Reed, in the video above in Figure 39. - "images with a 39xx file number are from Blue Ridge Hotshot Papich. Images with a 19xx file number are from Blue Ridge Hotshot Ball. Images with a yarnell-xxx file number are from Blue Ridge Hotshot McCord. There are three media images at the end. They have no time-stamps, but I think they are important in this image-based narrative of what the Blue Ridge Hotshots, who deserve medals for all they did, were involved in that tragic day. RiP Granite Mountain Hotshots" (emphasis added)
This link is courtesy of Marti Reed on IM re: Marquez and Carrothers involvement ( https://www.investigativemedia.com/yarnell-hill-fire-chapter-xiii/#comment-291410 )
"I spent some time, periodically, contemplating the fact that, as I 'looked at,' in various ways, where the crews were during that crucial 3:30ish to 4:30ish time period, I mostly couldn’t come up with anybody that’s on the official rosters (or even the unofficial ones, i.e. the 'Prescotteers'), who would/could have been on the ground in a place where they could / would have been doing any back-burning." (emphasis added)
"Except, as I have been really hesitant to say this, the two fire-fighters by the name of Rance Marquez and Cougan Carothers, which is WHY I have, periodically, written that it really bothers me that their testimony to ADOSH doesn’t match the EVIDENCE that I have been able to discern via the visual files." It is significant that Marti Reed has these identified issues and suspicions about Rance Marquez and Cougan Carothers, because "their testimony to ADOSH doesn’t match the EVIDENCE that I have been able to discern via the visual files." (emphasis added)
"Those are the only people in the corral of people involved in this fire whose locations at that time are, in my humble opinion, questionable. I’m not saying they decided to go somewhere and light a back-fire. I’m just saying that, since their testimony doesn’t match the visual records we have at this point. I’ve been, all along, wondering about that." (emphasis added)
There is credible evidence to fully support that Marti Reed's assumptions and insights are correct. (1) They were both there June 30th. (2) They were either there supervising all or part at least one of the operations or (3) observing it without speaking up while acquiescing in the process or (4) both. For several years after the ashes settled, Carrothers was somewhat of a 'basket case' according to friends and neighbors.
From June 26, 2014, Fernanda Santos "Money Splits a City Still Mourning Its Firefighters" NYT article "Wednesday’s lawsuit by the families, filed in Maricopa County Superior Court, offers one possibility: A “back burn” ignited by Yavapai County Fire District crews - essentially, a fire set on the vegetation that stands in the path of the coming flames, as a means of starving the flames of fuel - may have “critically impaired” the Hotshots’ position, perhaps trapping them or feeding the conflagration." (emphasis added)
I searched for the lawsuit noted, however, was unable to locate the one referred to in this article, so until we can locate and post it, you are on your own. ( https://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/27/us/money-splits-a-city-still-mourning-its-firefighters.html )
This article has been removed from the conventional Internet and was retrieved using the Archive Internet Wayback machine.
August 24, 2013 - 8/7/2013 6:00:00 AM Wayback Machine link
"Brendan McDonough believes everything happens for a reason"
( https://web.archive.org/web/20130825030231/http://dcourier.com/main.asp?SectionID=1&SubsectionID=1&ArticleID=122030 )
The news article has several interesting McDid-Not statements and quotes that are worthy of examination with some addressed below with all emphasis added.
"Brendan has seen plenty of news articles about the hotshots, but he doesn't want to talk about them."
"I'll make it known that I was there that day and I know what happened. ... there was a lot of people there that day and knew what happened ... it was just an accident."
"I'll make a statement that I'll always stand behind my 19 brothers and support them, and I'll make it known that there was no bad decision made," he said. "That no one's at fault for what happened."
I will concede to the fact that everything happens for a reason. However ... are you f**king kidding me? "... there was no bad decision made.' He also said: 'That no one's at fault for what happened.'" How is it that 19 men die in one fell swoop and yet he believes that nobody made any bad decisions? And nobody did anything wrong? We believe that what he means when he says "I will stand behind my 19 brothers and support them" is that he will continue to cover-up for them.
We found the following article in Fraud Magazine supporting our beliefs that the SAIT members and GMHS alleged "lookout" McDounough fall into this recognized category of deceivers and non-truth tellers.
"The 10 Tell-Tale Signs of Deception - The Words Reveal"
Fraud Magazine (January/February 2012) Paul M. Clikeman, PhD., CFE.
Well worth reading this article covering these topis: "1. Lack of self-reference, 2. Verb tense, 3. Answering questions with questions, 4. Equivocation, 5. Oaths, 6. Euphemisms, 7. Alluding to actions, 8. Lack of Detail, 9. Narrative balance, and 10. Mean Length of Utterance."
The author also notes the following from experience and research in other wildland fire fatalities:
"Complete and accurate descriptions of actual events are usually stated in the past tense and tend to have a predictable balance of prologue, critical event and aftermath. Truthful statements generally contain numerous self-referencing pronouns and include at least a few seemingly inconsequential details. Truthful statements rarely contain oaths, equivocation or euphemisms. Investigators should apply extra scrutiny to written or oral statements that deviate from these norms. Suspects and witnesses often reveal more than they intend through their choices of words."
Figure 48. YHF AFUE Collage of images into a video revealing fire behavior, fire progressions, smoke columns (plumes) and, and radio traffic. Source: Marti Reed, YouTube